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5/30/08 vs San Antonio

Final score: Storm 78 – Silver Stars 57 (W) (4-1)

Attendance | 6810

Anthem Watch | Started out thinking, "Here we go again," but she did an okay job. Although I'm pretty sure the line is "O'er" not "And/or."

Fan Psyche | Finally, an (almost) complete game.

Game Highlight | Swin's two handed block/steal on Wauters.

Halftime | A singer.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Rebounds

Game Photos | Scott E | Rick | Scott L

So that's what it looks like when the chippies start going in.

And I think someone had a few rebounding drills over the last week or so.

In the last couple Gameday reports, I wondered what it might look like when the Storm started playing together early in the game instead of ramping up their intensity only after being down by 15-20 points.

I like this new strategy of playing all out from the opening tip.

I don't think the Silver Stars quite knew what hit them. The Storm's defensive intensity and relentless rebounding early on put the Silver Stars into a wall-eyed daze of tentative confusion. They had no answer for LJ at all. She totally dominated the first quarter to an almost shocking degree. LJ was getting under the basket so easily, it looked like a layup drill.

Once she got rolling strong, Swoopes and Cash started hitting mid-range jumpers and before we knew what was going on the Storm was flirting with a a 20-point lead.

Now the second question I've had recently came to bear — how will the Storm react to having a big lead instead of being down big?

The answer? Pretty darn well. I don't think the Silver Stars were able to get the lead under about 14 the rest of the game. Every time they would get a couple baskets in a row and seem to be on the edge of really getting the game back into reach, the Storm would respond and push it right back up to the 17-21 range.

The only real negative in the Storm's performance came at the end of the second quarter and for a short stretch in the 3rd (I think) when it seemed like their concentration wavered and they started committing really bad turnovers. Any turnovers are bad, but when they are unforced, that's really bad. The Storm had several brain farts with some crazy passes to end the second quarter.

The biggest positive had to be the team's rebounding. It seemed like there were 2-3 Storm players under the basket on most plays fighting for the rebound. In the earlier home games, once a shot when up the whole team would head down the court regardless of a made shot or a miss. Tonight, the guards might start running back on a shot, but more often than not the bigs were staying put and scrapping for the ball. That, above everything else the Storm did right, allowed the Storm to take firm control of this game.

With the big lead and his team playing with a lot of confidence, Coach Agler was able to throw in some interesting lineups and get players like Beck some extended court time. ARob, kind of unexpectedly, did not get much time nor did Santos. Coach Agler relied on Katie, Shyra and Tanisha much more than his back-up bigs which lead to a lot of "going small."

One thing about how Coach Agler used his rotations tonight — he made adjustments after the loss at San Antonio and was able to tweak his game plan enough to give the Storm an edge. Making adjustments like this is something new that we didn't see a lot of in the past. If you look at the personnel on this team, they really are built to be adaptable to just about any opponent. Obviously, we can go small and run. We also have the forwards and centers to go big and scrap. Enough of our players are multi-position players and Coach Agler can make rotation moves and adjust quickly. In the past, we didn't have that luxury nor did Coach Donovan seem to like to deviate from the game plan too far. I think I like this new strategy too.

The Storm are 4-1, tied for our best start ever. With some tough road games coming up, keeping our home win streak going is extremely important. I'm feeling pretty good about things, but the rest of June is looking pretty brutal. Yes, I'm a glass half empty kind of guy.

Other notes:

I kind of expected at least some negative reaction to Becky Hammon when she was introduced what with the whole Russia thing, but I didn't hear any boos at all. She got her normal big cheer.

King County Executive Ron Sims and his wife were in attendance.

It was Girl's Night Out (I'm not sure how that is any different than most Storm games) and they had a hair salon and massage stations up on the concourse.

There was a giant "YOOOOOO" sign up behind the south basket, along with a "Hit it Here" sign. Reusing Mariners' signs is a basketball party foul.

I'm a little disappointed in yet another sub-7000 attendance. What's up with that?

The sound people were wearing out the "Everybody clap their hands" button again.

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