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8/08/09 vs New York

Final score: Storm 70 – Liberty 69 (W) (13-9)

Attendance | 7496

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

Game Photos | Scott E | Rick

I don't know if most people I talked to after the game were happier that we won or that we didn't go into yet another overtime. As the game neared the end of regulation, there were even chants in the stands of "No OT, No OT."

Did the Storm really win that game or escape it? They certainly seemed determined to give New York every opportunity at the end to get a game winning basket. Turnover, turnover, turnover leading to easy baskets and open three-pointers. Honestly, I should just start copy-and-pasting my game day reports because the Storm's issues are the same every game.

I kept wanting to send the Storm coaches an in-game memo, "New York has a tall blonde woman who can hit three pointers, kinda like our tall blonde. Maybe you should have someone, oh I don't know, GUARD THE THREE."

The game started out really well. The Storm were playing the way we all have wanted them to play — fast, decisive, attacking offense and solid, consistent defense. Up by 10, it felt, finally, like the Storm were going to have a good old blow out on their hands. I turned to Angie during the break between quarters and said, "It's been awhile since they've played with a lead. I wonder if they can do it."

The Liberty outscored the Storm each of the remaining three quarters and took the lead in the fourth with about 5 minutes left in the game. The Liberty also outrebounded the Storm and really punished the Storm on the offensive glass getting 10 offensive rebounds. The Liberty hit 8 for 21 threes, most of which came in the late third and fourth quarters and felt like they came after a Storm turnover (I say felt because it seemed inevitable that Storm turnovers lead to easy Liberty lay-ups or threes — I don't know if it was actually that way. That's how it felt).

So basically, the Storm played a great first quarter and then traded baskets or let the Liberty go on 4-0 or 6-0 runs the rest of the game. True, the Storm got the lead back to 10 on a couple occasions after one of those Liberty runs, but they weren't able to keep it there.

To answer my post-first quarter question about playing with a lead? Not so much.

It really wasn't that the Storm played badly. They had good plays on both ends of the court. They just weren't very consistent and it seemed like every time the Storm players eased up even a little, the Liberty were ready to jump on the opportunity and get the rebound or find and hit the open shot. It's kind of hard to blame fatigue since the Liberty played the night before in Sacramento. Sure, the Storm have had all those overtime games, but the Liberty weren't running like Phoenix or anything. This seemed more like mental fatigue than anything. As soon as the Liberty started to pull even with the Storm, you could see the Storm tighten up. You could almost see thought bubbles floating above their heads with a weary "Oh no, not again."

Directly after the win, Sue had the team in their customary huddle at mid-court for a very long time. The new sky cam got a great shot of her emphatically talking to her team. She had something to say and she was driving it home with authority. You know what? That's freakin' awesome. The Storm, as they have been for weeks, are on the edge of being real contenders or playoff fodder for the likes of Phoenix or Indiana. It's time for them to regain their focus and play every possession with some passion. I hope that's what Sue was telling her team. I hope that was a leader leading and saying "Enough is enough."

Other notes:

Coach Agler actually played all of his eligible players tonight. I know, it's hard to wrap your head around that isn't it? ARob and Suzy only got about three minutes each and it was during the early second quarter when we still had a decent lead. The Liberty hadn't shown any fight yet. Still, the bench got into the game. Suzy had a productive three minutes with two rebounds, an assist, a blocked shot, two points and no cringe inducing mistakes (although her three-point attempt was an airball). Give her some time and she can produce. What more can we ask of her?

Before the game, Coach Donovan talked to several of the Storm players. However her time here ended, it seemed like those that stopped to say hello to her were genuinely happy to see her. Sue was telling her some sort of story and was cracking herself up. It was pretty comical to watch.

I have to give some props to Katie Gearlds for bringing up the average street-clothes quality quotient on the bench. She was dressed in a simple red blouse and black skirt with flat sandals (no 4-inch heals when you have knee injuries — I'm looking at you Janell) and didn't look like she had just left home room and was heading to the library for study hall (yes, I'm looking at you Ashley Walker).

Were we invaded by the Army or something? They had a group exercise thing before the game and did another t-shirt parachute drop during the game. I guess the Army needs to advertise, but they seem an odd fit for a WNBA team.


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