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7/7/09 vs Sacramento

Final score: Storm 66 – Monarchs 55 (W) (8-4)

Attendance | 6838

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

Game Photos | Scott E | Rick

24-1.

That's the Storm home record looking back from 2008's preseason through tonight's game, counting preseason, regular season and playoff games.

24-1.

The Storm are one of only 2 teams to remain unbeaten at home this season and one of only four teams with at least 3 road wins this season (there are only 2 teams with winning road records). Not quite the bottom feeder team that some preseason analysts predicted the Storm to be.

With tonight's win, the Storm own the season series with the Monarchs, 3-0 with one remaining game at Sacramento in a couple weeks. Also with tonight's win, the Storm have the best conference record in the Western Conference at 8-2 (only Indiana is better with a 7-1 record in the East). What does all this mean? Well, the Storm have had a couple blow-oout losses, but otherwise they have so far been able to control games or, through their defense, been able to stay with teams and gut out wins.

Tonight's game was definietly a control game. The Storm had the Monarchs under control for the whole game. If it weren't for poor ball handling that lead to Storm turnovers and easy Monarchs' transition baskets, the Storm would have won by 30 and might have been able to keep the Monarchs scoring at 40 or less.

That's not hyperbole my friends. In the second half, the only way the Monarchs were able to score was on Storm mistakes. If the Storm got the Monarchs into a half court game and were able to set up their defense, Sacramento got nothing. The Storm's defense was stifling with each player contributing.

It wasn't just the big steals or blocks that got the crowd going, and there were plenty of those, it was also the constant switching and close outs on jump shooters that stymied the Monarchs defense. There was a guy with his daughter sitting in front of us for much of the game and he kept pointing out all these little defensive plays to her, saying, "That was good defense" and then explaining why to her. He was explaining a lot, not because she wasn't understanding but because there were so many good examples to talk about.

It really was too bad that the Storm allowed the Monarchs to get so many easy points off turnovers. The Monarchs had 13 steals. Too many of those were picks on our point guards as they brought the ball up the court. With no one between them and the basket, the Monarchs were able to get easy layups on at least 4 or 5 occasions on steals. I really think that with a little more ball control, the Storm could have really blown out the Monarchs.

Offensively, the Storm did a decent job. The didn't do a great job — they only scored 66 points. LJ had a much better game tonight, but was still seemed a step off from her normal 20+ point game form. Swin was the Storm's best offensive threat again tonight. She has taken up the slack from LJ's slumping scoring and is giving the Storm a huge lift.

Our other starters continued their solid play. Camille was again impressive with her defense, timely rebounding and occasional basket. She's very good at finding those times when the defense forgets about her and attacking. No one had any particularly bad plays, and if anything they all did their jobs.

The bigger story from tonight's game was that Coach Agler finally played the bench. The only benchie to not get significant minutes was Ashley Robinson. She came in with a couple minutes left in the game and wasn't really able to do much. Janell, Suzy, Katie and Pee Wee all got some good minutes and were able to get into the flow of the game. Katie and Pee Wee have been doing fairly well. They haven't put up huge numbers but have both shown they are scoring threats and have both played strong defense.

Janell got the most playing time and found herself playing Paris much of the time. Janell had a couple good plays and was able to score, but she went back a bit to the hesitate move she does and got stuffed. She has the height and reach advantage on most other posts she plays, but she doesn't jump over them. She could have been shooting over Paris all night, but she just didn't elevate and allowed Paris to get at the ball. She did have one sequence that had me laughing a bit in the first half. I think she ended up with Powell or Maiga-Ba on her out on the perimeter. She pulled up the ball and faked to pass, then looked around again as if to pass and as soon as the defender turned her head towards where that pass was going, Janell put the ball on the floor and went right past her and into the basket. It was a sweet move.

Suzy had a rough time. She went in with the ball a couple times and really got nothing out of it. She got stood up and instead of passing back out and reposting, kept throwing moves against her defender and ended up trying to get a foul call and flinging the ball into the air. She's never going to get that call, no matter who she's playing against. I think she needs to play a little smarter and pick her spots a little better. That really only comes with playing time of course, but until she does better she's not going to get playing time. It's an unfortunate catch-22. Her only hope is for the Storm to get back to blowing teams out so that she can get in during garbage time.

Other notes:

Sue was wearing some neon yellow shoes tonight to show her support of the Livestrong movement. It was funny because other players and even the refs were giving her some funny looks that had her explaining what the shoes were for. I thought they looked great and would like to see the whole team wear them for a game.

The Storm were wearing their green road jerseys for "Go Green" night. That meant that the Monarchs were in their home whites. I'm always nervous when the Storm wear their road jerseys at home. I can't give you specifics stats, but I don't think their record at home is that great over their history when the road colors come out at home.

Sheri Sam was in the stands and got a partial standing ovation.

The Storm announced the fan-voted All-Decade team. No huge surprises. I might have argued about a couple of the picks, but only out of affection for some players over others and certainly not on any objective measures. I really hope that all of the 10 are able to make it to the 8/1 10th anniversary game, but I'm sure that at least Tully, Betty and Izi will miss it because of their current WNBA team obligations. I really hope they get Kamila to come back. She and Simone are the only two originals on the All-Decade team and they are the two I most want to see.

Doppler was trying to hit half-court shots during halftime. He went over to the scorer's table and did a couple LeBron-inspired hand powder tosses to get warmed up. When he started shooting, he never really got close.

He and his assistant rode a tandem bike onto the court during a first quarter timeout. They showed a video of the two riding around Greenlake and through Queen Anne to KeyArena. Angie pointed out that Doppler wasn't wearing a helmet. Bad mascot. Funny thing - the arena announcer kept calling out "Doppler and Doppler's Assistant" during their video and bike ride around the court. The repetition of "Doppler and Doppler's Assistant" got to be a little comical.

There was a strong Monarchs' fan contingent at the game. They always come for at least one game up here with a good 30-40 fans. They made some noise at the beginning, but didn't have much to cheer for and weren't much of a factor later. Doppler put a little salt in the wound by hosing them down with silly string in the fourth quarter. They seemed to take it with some humor. Angie and I talked to a few of them on our way out of the arena. It's interesting to hear what other fans think of LJ and how she plays. It was clear they think she's a bit of a thug and a hacker. They also didn't think much of Swin. We didn't get into our thoughts on DeMya. Things wouldn't have stayed quite so cordial if we really got honest about each others' players.

The 13 Teams 1 Journey guy was in Seattle for this game and got an introduction to the crowd. He admitted to being from Seattle, so he was rooting for the Storm tonight. When asked to compare the fans in Seattle to Phoenix, his home team, he said something noncommital. Yeah, well, this wasn't our best crowd for a comparison.

Speaking of which, the early start time really messed with the crowd energy early in the game. I know I nearly missed getting to the arena on time because I didn't remember the early start. Of course the game was on ESPN, so it looked like we had a sparce crowd even though we've been doing much better than last year with attendance.

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