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Final score: Storm 80 – Monarchs 70 (W) (2-0)

Attendance | 9686

Box Score

Game Photos | Scott E | Rick

Submitted by LaurenRules

Anthem: Pat Wright of the Total Experience Gospel Choir. The first two verses were normal, ending with some gospel flourishes. She has a very nice, belt-y type voice that's well into the baritone range

Sacramento's players were introduced to subdued applause - Courtney Paris got a nice round of applause, as did Ticha. Kara Lawson was booed, which was pretty funny.

Opening video, nice, but not as cool as last years'. A red lightning bolt with a brief summation of major events (drafting Lauren, drafting Sue, Lauren's first MVP award, the 2004 championship and Force 10 taking over). The players were introduced and came down the stairs, as in seasons past. It wasn't last year's cool special effects, but it was nice. Katie came down my aisle and slapped my hand so hard, it tingled for quite some time.

First Quarter
Despite Lauren getting whistled for foul during the first play of the game, we got off to an excellent start. She was completely on her game - at one point, the score was Lauren Jackson 8, the Sacramento Monarchs, 2. We went on a 17 - 4, completely owning them on both ends of the floor. In addition to Lauren, who both shot and rebounded as if she had springs in her heels, major defensive props to Camille, who was rebounding as if her life depended on it.

JB came in, and, I must say, she looked way tentative. especially on defense. I was hoping that her season off would have helped, but, with almost ten minutes of play, she showed 0 rebounds, 0 blocks, one turnover and three fouls. She did look better on offense, scoring eight points. I hope A-Rob and Batgirl are working out hard.

Although Lauren scored eight points in the first quarter, what impressed me was how balanced the scoring was: T, Camille, Swin, Janell and Sue all scored, and Sue had a monster 3. Sacramento did figure out their game, and things definitely stabilized for them after Sue left the floor. Storm 22 - Monarchs 15

Second Quarter
Slow start to the second quarter, with lots of fouls, including a rather spectacular one by Katie that looked more like a body-check, sending Ticha to the line and cutting our lead to 5. Tanisha sank two of her own free throws to get us started, followed by a very pretty +1 play by Swin which helped widen our lead. Maiga-Ba and Lawson both scored and Lauren went on her own mini-run of four points, followed by an extremely pretty 3 from Katie. Thanks to Lawson, Sacramento began creeping back into it - I've always thought she was a bit of a thug, but she is a very good clutch player, to give her her due. Lead down to eight. Sue made a highlight-reel-worthy shot, where she cut between two defenders, dribbled around and sunk an elegant two. I wish we could clone her and play SBI at the point and SBII as shooting guard. Ashley R. made a gorgeous block, but Swin was whistled for a foul so it didn't count.

With 30 seconds to go in the half, Lauren made a free throw lane violation, returing possession to the Monarchs (who had gotten the rebound anyway), but nothing came of it. Sue grabbed a rebound and scored a jump shot to end the half. Storm 41 - Sacramento 32

Halftime Entertainment: Red Panda, who apparently also was featured at the NBA finals. How she stays that bike is a mystery to me. She must have a core of sheer, solid steel.

Sue and Lauren were first out of the locker room and started shooting. The team looked serious and tired during half-time warm-ups.

Third Quarter
Camille reeled off back to back FGs, to put Sacramento on their heels, followed by a gorgeous Lauren trey. Sacramento didn't actually score until 6:55 in the period, but then went on their own little mini-run, thanks to Kelly, Newton and Powell 3s, and a Paris layup, and, just like that, they were within five. Janell made a gorgeous layup to break it up, as well as one of her free throws from a later call. Sue and Lauren both scored as our defense forced a shot clock violation. (Let's beat last years' record as to who can force the most of those!) The rest of the quarter was all Lawson for them, all LJ and Camille for us. Storm 63 - Monarchs 50

Fourth Quarter
Both teams were looking pretty tired by now. We traded free throws, but we didn't make our first bucket until 7:38 and they didn't make theirs until 6:52. Sue actually lost her cool with the ref - the Monarchs clobbered her under the basket, and, immediately thereafter, Swin was whistled for a ticky-tack foul. She really chewed them out. It was fun.

She retaliated by scoring and Janell had a nice +1 play, after getting clobbered in a really hard fall. It was sweet to watch the team hovering over her solicitously as she got up. The rest of the quarter was a Sue and Lauren show, with occasional excellent moments from Tanisha, Swin and Camille. Final Score: Storm 80 - Monarchs 70

Nice videos, talking about Storm history, with a clip of Linn Dunn bouncing that basketball uphill. Nice interview with Jamie Redd and a nice shoutout to the UW Softball team. I hpe they have a night honoring them at the Key.

The Storm Dance Troupe is doing much more interesting and inventive choreography this year, including a sequence where they use a kid as a jump rope. They've all gotten much bigger. No more tiny, tiny little kids.

Doppler has an assistant - a guy in a khaki coverall, kind of like a haz-mat outfit, with striped sneakers. He was everywhere. Doppler had a rather annoying scene involving cake - I was glad i wasn't involved.

Laura Harper continues to impress. I continue to think Lawson and Braxton are thugs.

The refs were iffy, whistling a lot of ticky-tack stuff, but ignoring it when T was shoved out of bounds or a few other like calls.

On one occasion, when A-Rob was defending Courtney Paris, she beat *herself*, because Paris was so much slower. I'll bet she won't do that again in a hurry. It's weird to think that Paris outweighs her by 80 pounds. It was like watching a gazelle defend a... non-gazelle.

Dawn Trudeau was pacing the sidelines for some reason. I hope she found whatever it was that she was looking for.

Agree that we're a lot better when Sue and Lauren are on the floor. I hope we can get our starting lineup finalized and Shannon J isn't in it, much as I like her.

Katie is challenging more on defense. T had some great defensive disruptions, especially when she was guarding Harper or Powell.

LJ needs to give JB some lessons on boxing out. She got beaten a LOT.

Okay officiating - one really stupid turnover and a few really stupid fouls. Not bad.

A nice moment - one of the women behind me caught a T-shirt, but passed it down to a developmentally delayed kid in her row. He looked as if he'd just been crowned - she probably made his week, if not his month. Storm fans are great.

Congrats, Storm, on a great win. Woot. Get some rest for your road trip!

Maybe it's just my new seat, but Sue has developed a really fast acceleration to the opponent's basket that they can't ignore, because if they do, she'll score. I also can see why she's had trouble with her knees in years past, because her lateral movement is soooo quick, you can't stop watching her for a second.

Especial props must go to Camille on the defensive end. She really wanted the ball and zooms her way through bigger, tougher, taller players to get it.

I was really impressed with the intensity of Katie's defense as well. T is always an insane defender and watching her get under Laura Harper's skin (six inches taller) was a joy to behold.

From what I could tell, Ashley W is well on her way to fitting in to team play. I didn't see her get beaten so obviously on defense as she did in the pre-season. Ashley R. took two good shots, and I'm glad she's keeping that up. I hope she has a breakout year.

Lauren had one or two misses when she wasn't looking at the ball, and was annoyed at herself, but didn't let it get to her. It was great to see her laugh and roll her eyes at the first foul call.

Swin looked so happy to be playing. During a lot of the game, she had a big grin on her face. Once she gets 100% again, the other teams had better look out, because I agree with whoever said this, she's moving with an energy and vigor I haven't seen in years.

Everything runs better with Sue on the floor. I hope that they rest PeeWee up so she can sub in for her tomorrow - she was moving like her legs were really hurting her. I think she'll be a solid backup, as long as she stays healthy.

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