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6/19/09 vs Minnesota

Final score: Storm 90 – Lynx 62 (W) (3-2)

Attendance | 7607

Box Score | Jayda's Game Blog | Pelton's Game Blog

Game Photos | Scott E | Rick

We started tonight's game hearing that Minnesota's Simone Augustus would be out with a season ending torn ACL in her left knee. A big question for the game was if the hot playing Lynx could adjust and still play at a high level without their all-star forward. The follow up question was whether the Storm would relax with Augustus' absence and allow the rookie-heavy Lynx to set the pace of the game.

Both questions were answered early in the first quarter. The Lynx came out flat and listless. The only player who really seemed like she was ready to bring more energy and drive to her game was Charde Houston. She and her shorts were fighting for rebounds and driving to the basket while her teammates were settling for jump shots. The Lynx's other stars and high profile rookies were a bit of a bust.

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Wiggins was a non-factor until late in the game when the Storm's bench was in. With no Augustus to focus on, the Storm guards really went at her and shut her down. Tanisha in particular frustrated Wiggins to the point that Wiggins started losing her composure. The two were at each other enough that it finally boiled over and Sue had to step in and calm things down. Wiggins ended up with a technical foul for something she said to T or to the refs. She also started taking it out on her teammates and was barking at them.

One other Wiggins moment was pretty funny. She was chasing one of our guards along the baseline past a screen from Ashley Walker. Walker gave Wiggins a little pop as Candice ran past, which got the crowd on that end going. It was definitely a little Cal/Stanford love tap.

Renee Montgomery also got the business from the Storm guards. She had one good move on Sue, but was hounded, stripped of the ball and abused for most of the game. The best "welcome to the WNBA, rook" moment for Montgomery came in the fourth quarter when she ran into a Suzy Batkovic-Brown screen and was knocked flat. That got the crowd and the Storm bench going.

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The Storm came out on fire and were up by 10 in the first few minutes. The Lynx never got any closer except for a short span in the second quarter when they got back within 7 points of the Storm. The Storm poured it on from that point forward and ran away with the game.

I guess it isn't surprising that the Lynx hadn't made any real adjustments yet to Augustus' injury. Her status was confirmed earlier in the day and the coaching staff had to wing it for tonight's game. They were also on the back end of a road back-to-back. I hope the Storm doesn't put much credence into the results of this game. They caught the Lynx at a serious low ebb in terms of physical and mental energy. The two teams play two more times and I think the Storm will have to take this team seriously.

Except for the first few minutes of the third quarter, the Storm looked great. I don't think any Storm player had a bad game. Well, I'd qualify that with the fact that it seemed like the team's free throws were surprisingly off. But aside from that and the beginning of the third quarter — the Storm were cruising the whole game.

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Lauren was on fire and almost unconcious from the three-point line. She was extremely active on defense getting not only blocks on Lynx shots but several steals. The Lynx really had no counter for LJ. Without Hayden's size or Ohlde's inexplicable ability to stymie LJ, Lauren went to town inside and out and pretty much could do whatever she wanted.

Sue wasn't shooting much, but she was dishing like crazy and ended up with 10 assists. The team as a whole had 21 assists on 26 shots. That my friends is a great stat and Sue led the way.

One of the other really nice things to see was that Janell seemed to have gotten them message about her shot fakes and went straight up with the ball when she got the pass in the post. She had a solid offensive game. It would have been great if she had rebounded a little better, but then the Storm as a team were giving up rebounds so it wasn't just her. She did contribute to one of the best plays of the night at the end of the third quarter. She got a rebound with just a few seconds left on the clock and baseball-passed the ball up the court to Pee Wee Johnson who caught it and was able to hit a lay-up as the clock wound down.

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The other really nice thing about this game was how well the bench did during the fourth quarter. With the lead hovering near 30, Coach Agler pulled the starters and allowed the bench to play the entire fourth quarter. Not only did they get some quality minutes, but they also got to play against some of the Lynx starters. The bench didn't extend the lead, but they also didn't let it get away either. I can think back to several games over the last couple of years when the Storm were in this same position and the bench was unable to produce. It was a great sign of things to come that our bench players came in with a lot of defensive energy and effort and with offensive ability. It makes me optimistic about the season.

Other notes:

Tonight was Dads and Daughters night. Matt Hasselbeck and his daughters where at the game. Ashley Walker's parents were also in the front row and she and her father were featured in time-out video. Even the dance team got their dads into the act and four dance team dads got out on the floor and busted a move or two (except for the white guy... poor white guy).

The Sounders' Women were in the stands and got some recognition.

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