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7/19/09 vs Minnesota

Final score: Storm 72 – Lynx 69 (W) (10-6)

Attendance | 6912

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

Game Photos | Scott E

Talk about yanking victory out of the jaws of defeat.

The Storm had chance after chance in the fourth quarter to finally close the Lynx's lead and go ahead themselves, but couldn't get it done. With the clock against them, the Storm continued to produce defensive stop after defensive stop only to cough up the ball or shoot a very low percentage shot.

Finally, when it seemed like we were headed for another home loss — unbelievably the third in a row — the Storm came through and converted their defense into offense and took the lead. Tanisha hit a driving lay-up with about 10 seconds left on the clock. I'm of two minds about that shot. On the one hand, it seemed like she took the shot way too early, ensuring that the Lynx would get the ball back. Even with how the Storm was playing defense, the Lynx have too many good shooters to rely that much on your defense being able to do the job (I fully admit to being wrong about that). On the other hand, the Lynx opened up their defense and let Tanisha into the lane. Take the good shot early or not. Also, the Storm's ability lately to make shots with the clock running down is suspect at best. It was much better to make the decisive move than run out the clock.

So, T hits the layup and the Lynx get the ball with 10 seconds left. They bring it in and pass it in to Anosike (I think) with Camille guarding. Camille kicked the ball, so the refs stopped the play and the Lynx had to bring it back in, now with 6.8 seconds.

They get the ball in and over to Wiggins. Now I think I'm seeing a pattern with former Stanford players... at least a pattern with former Stanford players who are current diva-light, I believe my own hype, I'm an elite player whether I've really earned the rep WNBA guards. Yes, I'm looking at you Wiggins (and Powell). Anyway, their tendency is to get the ball and throw themselves into the defense, flailing, jerking, making faces like they are trying to pass kidney stones, and basically daring the refs to not call a foul on their behalf. Wiggins gets the ball outside of the three-point line and instantly turns to drive against Tanisha, making sure to do her crazy face routine. The refs don't bite, so she barrels in looking for a foul... right into a locked to the floor, arms straight in the air, text-book defensive positioned Camille Little.

It's kind of amazing that the refs actually made the charge call. These refs had been allowing a lot of stuff to go throughout the game, but this charge was so blatant that they had to call it. Camille was a wall and Wiggins was out of control. There was really no other call to be made.

Alright. The Storm have the ball and a one point lead. All they have to do is get the ball in and wait for the foul to ice the game with some free throws. The Lynx have a foul to give and when Sue gets the ball on the first in-bounds pass, they foul quickly. Once again, the Storm have to get the ball in. This time, Tanisha gets the pass at midcourt. Hodges immediately comes up to foul. Incredibly, Tanisha blindly passes the ball backwards over her head. Why, Tanisha, why? If the refs hadn't been quick with the foul call, you just gave the Lynx the ball with 3 seconds left and a clear path to the basket. It was really one of the more boneheaded plays Tanisha has made and one that could have handed the game to the Lynx on a silver platter.

I really don't get why she tried to pass the ball. She's one of our better free throw shooters. She had to know that the foul was coming and that any kind of pass was extremely dangerous, let alone one backwards over her head. I hope she gets a serious talking to about that pass.

Luckily, the foul was called and she got to hit those two free throws anyway. Still, the Lynx were able to get off a clean half court shot as the buzzer sounded. It wasn't really close, but with the way things have been going lately I half expected it to go in. It didn't. The Storm win. We all get to breathe.

This was a big, important win. The Storm now have the season tiebreaker against the Lynx and could possibly sweep them 4-0 when they meet in Minnesota on September 5.They put a little more distance between them and the other West teams and push their conference record to 10-2. Only the Fever have a better conference record.

The Storm played better tonight than they have over the last couple games, but still had their rough spots. They weren't finishing quarters very well at all. They would play good defense and pull close to the Lynx and then break down and allow the Lynx to once again kick the lead up to 6 or 7. Back and forth through most of the game, the Lynx went up by 2 or 3 possessions only to have the Storm get some stops and come back.

It really wasn't until the fourth quarter that the Storm were able to really put the screws on the Lynx and keep them from scoring. But, as I wrote above, the Storm were unable to take advantage of their great defense until the very end.

The Storm's offense problems. This game, for me, exposed the main problem. The Storm have 2 offensive personalities. The successful one and the one that makes us all want to close our eyes and go to our happy place.

When the Storm act quickly and decisively on offense, they are very successful. The point guard brings up the ball and one or two passes later, usually very quick passes by the way, the ball goes into the lane and a good, high percentage shot goes up. If there is a miss, we seem to have rebounders in position. I don't have stats, but I bet all this happens in the first half of the shot clock.

Then there is the ugly step child offense. The one that happens with single digits on the shot clock. The Storm come down the court. Players go to their spots and stand there. The point guard dribbles, passes off the ball. That player dribbles and maybe passes back to the point. Someone looks at the clock and notices it's down to 10 or 9. The crowd starts counting down. In the face of a set defense, the Storm player forces a drive to the basket, usually against a double team. Or, they will drive and try to dish the ball off to a player who is out of position or not expecting the ball. Either way, we get a bad shot, no foul call and no rebound.

This why even though Tanisha took her shot with 10 seconds left on the clock, I was okay with it. She played the Storm's good offense — quick and decisive. The ugly offense was what lost us the game against Detroit. The good offense eventually won us this game, with a dash of defense to put it away.

I certainly feel better about where the team is, although I don't think they are out of the woods yet and not just because LJ is probably going to be out for another week or so. Sue was still playing with a lot of frustration. The Storm's fouls are up and they are letting the other teams to get into the penalty early and often. Janell, Pee Wee and Katie are playing well, but we're not getting much else from our bench.

I feel like the Storm are on the edge of getting it together and solidifying their place at the top of the league, or continuing to play up-and-down and slipping back to the middle. At this point, I think the Storm make the playoffs no matter what, but one road gets us past the first round and one doesn't.

I don't know about you, but I'm really, really tired of the first round.

Other notes:

No former Storm players were introduced, not were another other local celebs.

The intro video now consistently has Michael Jackson's "Beat It" playing and I think it works best. It matches the way the video is cut, they are playing it pretty loud so the video's audio isn't interfering and it is fast enough that the crowd can keep clapping to it. I hope they stay with it. It's working.

During the Storm player intros, LJ came out first in street clothes followed by Ashley Walker. Each subsequent player gave LJ a big hug before going down the line doing the normal high fives.

Nobody has really commented on the "new" Doppler. If you remember, the original Doppler moonlighted as Sasquatch for the Sonics. When the Sonics were stolen away, Doppler/Squatch followed. Big-time mascot jobs are hard to find, so I don't fault him. The new Doppler had big shoes to fill and I'd say he (or she) is doing a great job. If anything, I think Doppler spends more time out in the crowd and is more engaging. He can't shoot the basketball worth beans and has an even harder time keeping his pants on, but otherwise I say great job Doppler.

Does anyone know what they sound effect is that gets played when Camille hits a basket? She hit like three in a row at one point and that weird repetitive sound was played each time. Swin gets money clinking around. Sue gets "Bird is the Word." LJ gets a didgeridoo. Camille gets someone stuttering? If anyone knows what it is, let me know please.

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