score: Storm 91 Mystics 68 (W) (15-17)
Watch | A small chorus made up of members
of the Seattle Women's Choir (I think). Very nice. Quick and
to the point without any American Idol foolishness.
Psyche | Just win one freakin' game and then
we're all in (the playoffs).
Highlight | Another one of those take-your-pick
nights. Personally, I think limiting the Mystics to 8 points
in the third quarter is the biggest one.
| Dance troupe performing with lots of extra
Keyword of the Game | Chin up mate. We're
all behind you.
Photos | Scott
E | Rick
The big thing to start the game was that LJ was back, but not
really back. It was painfully obvious, and completely understandable,
that she was really struggling to keep things under control.
A coworker of mine recently lost her grandmother. She flew home
for the funeral and when she came back each of us let her know
that we were there for her. She is a very private person and
didn't want anyone making a big deal out of it, so we kept it
low key. LJ, despite her public occupation, is also a very private
and shy person. I'm sure her teammates did what we did for our
friend. But instead of just having to face a handful of coworkers
with her grief, she was facing 8,000 of us. Even though every
single one of us just wanted to give her a hug and let her know
we support her, you could see the pain she was in.
terms of her game performance, her shot was off and while
she was in there and battling for position, every time play
stopped it was like she was a marionette whose lines went
slack. It is a testament to how good a player she is and how
much of a competitor she is that she was able to finish the
game with her average 24 points.
team came through and helped her get over that first half
slump. Betty especially took over and torched the Mystics
early and often. She came out with determination and intensity,
ignoring the ever-growing wrap on her left wrist to slice
and dice the Mystics defense. She had 20 in the first half
and ended the game with a new career-high 37.
It wasn't all Betty — Sue also came out looking to score
and shot really well. Ashley came up with some huge rebounds.
The bench didn't produce a lot of scoring — let's face
it, Katie is just about the only scoring option on the bench
right now — but they also didn't let things slide when
they were in. I think the key bench statistic is that they only
had 1 turnover between them.
the time the third quarter rolled around, LJ had finally found
a groove and started to hit her shots. That forced the Mystics
to pay a lot more attention to her which kept things open
for Betty and Sue. The Storm had a great third quarter offensive
game and put up 32 points.
still was that they held the Mystics to only 8 third quarter
points. In fact, it took nearly 6 minutes before the Mystics
scored a basket. Through that time, they had 1 point off of
a free throw. The Storm blew the game open and turned what
had been a relatively close game into a rout.
game's larger context, of course, was winning and taking the
4th spot in the playoffs rather than waiting for a Houston
loss to get us there. Part way through the third quarter,
the arena announcer let everyone know that Houston had lost
and the Storm were in. We won anyway and made their loss a
the end of the third, we all knew we were in the playoffs
and the Storm were up by nearly 30. The Mystics were on the
ropes and not really showing much fight left. Coach Donovan
probably could have pulled the starters and given the whole
quarter to the bench. She didn't and instead stuck to her
normal rotation until almost the mid point of the quarter.
I imagine that she left LJ in there to help her get back into
normal game speed. Even missing a few days can have an impact.
Once the bench was in they kept the Mystics at bay for the most
part and only gave up 6 points off the 29 point lead. I'm trying
not to sound like I'm desperately looking for a silver lining
in the bench cloud, but sometimes having them keep the game
steadyish is a victory all in itself.
best sight of the game was during the end of the fourth quarter
when LJ was sitting on the bench between Sue and Izi and the
two of them were able to get her to smile and laugh. The win
was great. Betty was great. That, however, was the best part
of the game.
yeah, last thing: Official #58, Josh Tiven. You suck. A lot.
I mean it.