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6/29/08 vs Washington

Final score: Storm 64 – Mystics 49 (W) (9-7)

Attendance | 7965

Anthem Watch | It's "o'er," not "for" — o'er cryin' out loud.

Fan Psyche | This is all well and good, but can we get a road win please?

Game Highlight | How about 4 Mystics' shot clock violations.

Halftime | A putting contest for a round of golf with Katie Gearlds.

SF.O Keyword of the Game | Defense

Game Photos |

The Storm set a new defensive mark for themselves tonight by holding the Mystics to 49 points. Normally I think it's reasonable to expect that the team on the winning end of a defensive effort like the Storm's would have put together an equally dominating offensive effort. After all, the mantra we always seem to hear is that good defense leads to good offense.

Well, all the Storm could manage was 64 points. Most of the game, the Storm lead was hovering around 10 points — certainly a deficit that players like Alana Beard could wipe out single-handily.

Luckily, the Storm's defense was able to stifle Beard and the other Washington scorers enough so that the shaky Storm offense didn't have to put up 80. Against a better team who could have matched the Storm's defensive intensity, a 10-ish point lead might not have been enough.

I say that the Storm offense was shaky for a few reasons.

First, it seems that we always have at least a couple starters who are in a shooting funk. Which two changes game to game. Tonight, it was Lauren and Swin. We did end up with balanced scoring from the starters thanks to free throws pushing LJ and Yo into double figures.

Second, while the Storm are rebounding better, they still aren't doing much on the offensive glass. They only got 6 offensive rebounds. Good things tend to happen when the Storm get offensive rebounds — put backs, fouls on the defense, etc. Even getting that number up to 10 a game would be a huge improvement.

Third, we got jack from the bench on offense. 9 points from 3-13 shooting. This isn't really all that surprising since only Tanisha and Ashley got significant playing time. Camille Little got about 9 minutes and while she had a couple good hustle plays — which got her the postgame interview — she also racked up 5 fouls and 2 turnovers. Ely and Gearlds have almost disappeared into the deep bench region. I don't really get that, especially with Shyra. She had some great production earlier in the season and looked much improved compared to last year. I say put her back in the rotation.

Lastly, the team wasn't able to convert on their great defensive play. The Storm had 7 blocks, 4 shot clock violations called on the Mystics and 8 steals. Those 3 stats alone equal 19 opportunities for the Storm to build a solid lead. All they could manage, until the last part of the 4th quarter, was an 8-12 point lead.

I wasn't nervous that the Mystics would take the game, but I also wasn't comfortable that the Storm had the game firmly in hand.

It seems like the Storm either brings the heavy defense or the firing on all cylinders offense, but seldom both in the same game. Now, with all the Western conference teams getting their stuff together at the same time, the Storm's playoff future is not a certainty like it seemed to be back in the 6-1 days a month or so ago.

Half the season is gone. The Storm desperately need to get some road wins, and they need to resist the urge for complacency at home. It's time for all that veteran leadership and world-class talent to kick it up a notch or three.

Other notes:

Florina Pascalau was at the game, sitting courtside on the north baseline.

I saw the hairiest legs on a woman I've ever seen tonight. It was truly impressive. I'd go so far as to say I've seen few men with hairy legs than her. I almost told her that, but thought it would be hard to say anything without sounding like I was insulting her.

The Storm made a passing mention to the Gay Pride parade that happened earlier in the day towards the end of the game on the big screen. It was nice, but I think they could have done a little more. I know that other teams wouldn't have even given the mention that the Storm did, but this is Seattle. We ought to be setting the bar a little higher.

So when does that post-school being out bump in attendance happen?