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8/14/07 vs Minnesota Lynx

Final score: Storm 81 – Lynx 67 (W) (16-17)

Attendance | 8144

Anthem Watch | Big-time voice, not sure she needed the microphone, I liked her performance but then I'm biased

Fan Psyche | REVENGE — okay, how about just out last them?

Game Highlight | Defense in the first quarter and decent bench production. Holy crap, did I just type that?

Halftime | $50,000 shot that only earned about $1200

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Fight! Gym Rat called it!

Game Photos | Scott E

This game started out very promising and ended very ugly. Not so ugly that the Storm lost, but when you're just a smidge better than the worst team in the league it's hard to even say that a win is a win.

At the beginning of the game, it was apparent Coach Donovan was using this game as a tune up for the playoffs. This was clear in two ways. First, the Storm's defense (at least early on) was very aggressive. Way more aggressive than we've seen in other recent games. In fact, they were playing a lot more like other teams played us — fast hands breaking up passes, tipping the ball out of the dribblers' hands, closing out on perimeter shooters and running back on transition defense.The team had a lot of energy and focus and were really disrupting the Lynx.

It was also great to see Ashley being aggressive with her shot. She and Izi were the only Storm players to score for quite awhile. I remember commenting to Angie that it was a good sign that the two of them were getting baskets even before LJ, Sue or Betty. If these two can pick up early scoring, it can only take pressure off LJ and Betty later on.

The second thing I noticed about Coach D's game plan was her short rotation. The Storm only played 8 deep tonight, leaving Ely, Lewis and Ndiaye-Diatta on the bench. Lewis wasn't surprising since she's rarely getting any playing time already. Ely had apparently gone straight to the doghouse because she's been DNP lately. Astou is a little more surprising given the amount of time she's had on the court since she was signed. With her and Ely out however, that just meant more time for Ashley and I think we all can agree that is a good thing.

I think it is safe to say that Ashley has stepped in for Janell without a whole lot of let down. Her rebounding and blocks are certainly there and she's gaining more confidence with her shot with every game. Her free throws are an adventure, but that will come around too (I hope). It's also safe to say that she could dunk the ball if she really wanted to. I saw her jump up for a rebound and would swear that her head was just a couple inches from the level of the rim. I understand the hesitation to dunk, but once a player does it that first time and gets it out of the way they suddenly have one of the highest percentage shots in their arsenal. Just think how many of those offensive rebounds Ashley gets could turn into immediate points if she just went right back up and stuffed the ball. I don't care about the showboating aspect of the dunk — I want the easy points. So Ashley — dunk the damn thing.

The team's energy started to drain away part way through the second quarter and they allowed the Lynx to creep back into the game. We of course then had our normal third quarter meltdown, but the Lynx helped out by having one of their own. The two teams matched each others' 10 points in the quarter. I haven't checked, but that might be a combined low for the Storm and an opponent. Truly a fugly quarter.

Credit Augustus for the Lynx's ability to stay in the game. It didn't matter who was on her, how close they were to her, how many hands in her face there were — she would rise up and hit from just about any distance from the basket. It was almost sick watching her score at will. Unfortunately for the Lynx, the Storm did what they could to stop her not by defending her more aggressively (it doesn't really work), but by keeping the ball from getting to her. The Storm "limited" her to 28 when it looked like she could have dropped 40 on us.

LJ on the other hand, if possible, looked worse tonight than she did the other night against the Mystics. By worse, I mean more depressed and more unmotivated to be out on the court. Being LJ, she still nearly got a double double, but man was it hard to watch her being so uncomfortable and unhappy. All you want to do is wrap her up in a blanket, sit her in front of a tv and give her a big bowl of chicken soup or something. When she finally came out at the end of the game, she just looked wrung out.

The Storm were able to turn the game around in the fourth and behind great play by Wendy and some scoring from everybody, put the Lynx down and kept them there.

The game ended with a few fireworks. Wendy and Stansbury got tangled up and harsh words were exchanged. Ashley got in the middle and kept them apart while others held the two back. Both of them continued the jawing until the dual technicals were called and the refs stepped in. While Wendy is fierce when she's on the court, Stansbury has the bulk. It would have been a nasty one for sure, and with only 6.7 seconds left kind of a waste had it resulted in suspensions. Still, it's good to get the blood pumping every once in awhile.

One more regular season home game to go. We only have LA standing between us and a 3-game win streak and a 17-17 record. Ugh — why'd I have to go and bring that up? Oh well, bring it on LA.

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