score: Storm 63 Shock 66 (L) (8-6)
Game Blog | Pelton's
E | Rick
What is going on with this team? When was the last time we
saw such stagnant play and such lackluster defense? When was
the last time we saw a player weeping on the bench (Suzy)?
When was the last time we saw Sue Bird panic with the ball
in her hands?
sucks. Losing twice in a row at home after being so dominant
at the Key sucks even more, but I'm not terrible worried about
that. The loss to Chicago was tough, but I thought the Storm
played well except for their 3-point defense. They weren't
dominated, but they were competitive. Tonight's loss is forcing
the questions I outlined above.
start with what had been the Storm's primary identity this
year — hard, smothering, turnover-forcing defense. The
Sky and now the Shock were able to shoot above 50% against
the Storm. Both teams were able to effectively run their offenses
and get the shots they wanted at key times of the game. For
the Sky, it was the ability to get their three-point shooters
open. For the Shock, it was the ability to get their all-star
guards open for 4th quarter baskets — mainly Katie Smith.
It seems like the Storm aren't making or aren't executing
adjustments late in the game to counter the other teams' moves.
leads back to the coaching and another issue the Storm seem
to be having — Coach Agler's rotation scheme. His reluctance
to play the centers and forwards on the bench has been widely
noted already. He loosened up and actually gave Janell some
playing time and she's been doing better. Suzy and Ashley
are still getting single digit minutes if they play at all.
Suzy got some time tonight after LJ went out (more on that
later), but it ended badly. She went in and had a couple really
bad plays. The team called a timeout and during the huddle
someone laid into her. I don't know if it was Coach Agler
or one of the other players, but when the huddle broke up
Suzy headed to the end of the bench and was left sobbing.
be frank, her play on the court has been bad. It's a chicken
and egg thing — she won't get better until she gets
more court time, but when she gets a little court time she
plays badly. At this point, you have to question why Coach
Agler brought her back to Seattle. Maybe it was a ploy to
get LJ to come back. Suzy is one of her best friends and maybe
giving up a roster spot to someone you don't really plan on
using to secure the best player in the world made sense at
the time. Right now, it's pretty clear she's miserable and
there is some growing frustration between her and the coach
and/or other players.
from the bigs, Coach Agler's rotation for the other positions
isn't making a lot of sense at times either. Katie Gearlds
was hitting her shot, but she gets pulled. She is a rhythm
shooter and was finding that rhythm, but out she came. Swin
makes one bad pass and gets pulled. Tanisha starts getting
back to her dribble, dribble, dribble routine but stays as
the point guard. The offense as a whole seems to have fallen
flat, which doesn't make a lot of sense when the team was
able early in the season to get good shots with movement and
rotations that put players in their power positions. Somehow
that philosophy has been left behind and we're back to players
playing away from their strengths and a stagnant offense.
are other growing issues, led by Sue Bird's recent play and
frustration. I honestly can't remember seeing Sue act like
she did against the Sky or tonight against the Shock. Nothing
epitomized that more than the final play of this game. The
Storm were bringing in the ball with just a few seconds left.
Sue got the ball and had time to dribble out or make a move
to get away from her defenders. Instead, it looked like she
panicked and took a horrible shot in the face of two defenders
while falling down with 5 seconds left on the clock. It was
a bad shot and bad clock management.
to top it all off, LJ left the court with about 3 minutes
left in the third quarter and didn't come back out for the
rest of the game. Talk about salt in the wound. I didn't see
how she hurt herself. All I can say is that she was hobbling
like a drunken sailor as she made her way through the player
tunnel to the locker room.
Storm have the playoffs in their sights. Phoenix and Indiana
both look formidable right now, but the Storm look at times
just as tough. They need to get some things figured out, however,
and soon. Playing the way they did against the Sky and now
against the Shock will mean blowouts against the better teams
in the league. I don't like blowouts unless we're the ones
inflicting them on someone else (and even then they get kind
the Storm is better than this and ought to know it.
Starbird was in the stands and said she is in graduate school
in Boulder, CO.
were other side things that happened, but I was too irritated
by the game to remember them.