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5/17/087 vs Chicago

Final score: Storm 67 – Sky 61 (W) (1-0)

Attendance | 12,079

Anthem Watch | Slightly twangy, but otherwise solid

Fan Psyche | Waiting for a chance to explode, and got it in the 3rd quarter.

Game Highlight | The 3rd quarter and the 23-1 run.

Halftime | Dude with a big wheel... and extremely strong abs.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Timeout management

Game Photos | Scott E | Rick | Scott L

It's almost unbelievable to be where we are right now.

If someone had told me at the end of last season that in just a few months, the team would have new, local, owners, a new coach, new All-Star-All Decade-All-Everything players on the roster and a fresh break from the degenerating circus that is the Sonics' saga, I would have laughed at them in the face.

I, like many who I had talked to, had given up hope and didn't really expect to ever see another Storm game in Seattle.

Well.

Things have a way of changing, and every once in awhile the good guys get a break.

We've gone from frustration and hope-crushing uncertainty to an almost embarrassment of riches:

An amazing owners group made up of role-model business women committed to making this team successful in Seattle.

A new coaching staff who is unafraid to make some of the boldest moves we've ever seen with this team.

A roster seemingly built to deliver a championship... now.

Tonight was the first real opportunity for the fans to come together and let the owners and team know how we felt about all of this. The owners being introduced got the first standing ovation. The team intro, complete with over-the-top center court platform and lots of smoke got more cheers. Our near-super powered starting 5 were brought up last and got the 12,000 in the stands going crazy. Truly, we were all poised for a memorable night and start of something incredible.

We just had that pesky thing called a game to play.

As it is with every season, our first game (or two) end up being an extended preseason. Tonight it was even worse since LJ and Sue were later arriving from Russia than ever before. Throughout the first half of the game, it felt like a tune-up game instead of a home opener — no one was in the right spots during half court sets, no one was in position for defensive rebounds and the Sky was able to pretty much get whatever they wanted.

It was perhaps the best answer to all the hype and expectations. The first two quarters brought things down to earth a bit and reminded everyone that there is nothing about this season that will be a lock.

The Sky out-rebounded, out-hustled and consistently disrupted any flow that the Storm had on offense. This isn't to say they were blowing out the Storm. They weren't — the score was tight the whole way, right up to the end of the second quarter when the Sky was able to put together a mini-run to go up by 6. The two doing the most damage were Perkins and Melvin. I had expected to see more of Sylvia Fowles, but unlike the other big name rookie debuting in the W today, she wasn't able to get anything going because of foul trouble.

Coming out of halftime, things started to get a little hairy as the Sky took off and threatened to blow the game open for real. They picked right up where they left off in the second quarter and were again playing with more energy than the Storm and taking control.

Coach Agler called a timeout a minute or so in and it was like he hit a big switch labeled "play like a team." The Storm turned on the jets and went on a killer run. If this is what is ahead of us this season, we're going to be having a lot of fun this summer.

Everything started to gel. Everyone got involved and the threat LJ, Cash, Yo, Swoopes and Sue present being on the floor at the same time became all too clear. The Sky didn't know who to defend or from where the offense was coming.

I was most impressed with Sue and Swin.

Sue because even though she's only been working under Coach Agler's system for a couple days, she was directing the offense and, when necessary, getting her own points. I've said it many times, but she may be the most adept at knowing when to go for a score instead of setting up a teammate. Every bucket she hits seems to come at key moments when the team most needs her to shoot. She's the most deliberate shooter out there.

Swin because she took the most advantage of the time she spent on the floor and contributed in all sorts of small and large ways. She had more offensive rebounds than any other Storm player and was second in assists only to Sue. She scored inside and outside and was the veteran on the floor with the bench to lead that unit. It looks to me like Coach Agler is really giving Swin a chance, even on this team of legends, to play to her strengths and be a team leader. As I wrote in my preseason game recap, I see Swin as the Storm's secret weapon and forsee her having a great year here.

The good times didn't necessarily continue. Things did come back down to looking like that preseason game at the end of the fourth quarter. With the bench in and a 15 or so point lead, the Sky went back on a tear and made all of us a little nervous about the outcome.

I say "all of us" because even the coaches got nervous. Coach Agler sent LJ, Sue and Swoopes back out to the scorer's table to check back in as the Sky clawed back into the game.

The clock, however, was against the Sky and they ran out of time before any of the Storm starters really needed to come back in. If the game had been 5 minutes longer, it might have been a different story.

This game really was the start of a new era. It was also a nice reminder than nothing can be taken for granted. Hope is back, expectations are high, but as stacked roster doesn't guarantee anything. It's a long way to October and it's nice to get started with a win.

Other notes:

I kept expecting Fowles to dunk and while I would have loved to have seen it, I'm glad her butt was kept on the bench and she didn't get a chance.

12,000 was nice. I expected more.

Senator Patty Murray was in the front row, along with the new owners, KB and WNBA President Donna Orender.

The "Everyone Clap Your Hands" was almost tolerable when only used once a half.

All the ball "kids" have their names on their shirts now (I say "kids" because most of them are out of high school or in college).

In one of the coolest moments I've ever seen in sports, the players went over to the owners after the game and pulled them all in to the postgame huddle. That was seriously cool.

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