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8/22/09 vs Indiana

Final score: Storm 74 – Fever 60 (W) (15-11)

Attendance | 8273

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

Game Photos | Scott E | Rick

I don't know about any of you, but I was pretty worried about this game. I've had my concerns about the Storm's ability to hang with the league's good teams. Let's face it, the Storm's M.O. this season regardless of their opponent's quality is to play tightly contested games. Against good teams, there is always a danger that a tight game will be decided by a last second shot or a late-game push. On top of all of that, Indiana got spanked the other night at Sacramento. You know that they would be out for blood in their next game. And finally, Tully was recognized before the game for her inclusion on the Storm's All-Decade Team — any time there are pregame ceremonies like that, things seem to go badly for the Storm.

Maybe tonight's pregame ceremony overdose unclogged that particular bugaboo since in addition to Tully getting her award and flowers, Swin got a game ball for hitting her 3,000th point and LJ got two game balls for hitting her 5,000th point and 2,000th rebound. I think that may be the most pregame awards we ever had. Maybe we overloaded the pregame ceremony jinx.

One other thing had me finding ways to accept the inevitable before tip-off — the Fever were hitting freakin' everything during their shoot-around. Everything. Douglas was raining threes like she was single-handily trying to reforest the Mountains to Sound Greenway sponsored by Carter Subaru.

Overall, the Storm played a decent game. If they had played a good game, meaning their offense was consistent and they were playing smart basketball for 40 minutes, they would have won by 25 or more. As it was, they had some poor shooting, missed what seemed like a ton of chippies, had some defensive misses that led to easy Fever baskets and looked like they were going to completely collapse at the end of the third quarter.

No, the Storm didn't play a particularly good game, but they played well enough, especially on defense (most of the time) to build a lead and then keep that lead.

Douglas was hitting everything pregame? It's a good thing she got it in there because she was blanketed during the game. Tanisha and Swin were all over her. Same thing happened to Catchings. She was never allowed to get going and ended up being more of a distributor than scorer. That said, she was three assists and three rebounds away from a triple-double.

The Fever did a similar number on LJ. I swear she was actually quadruple-teamed at one point in the fourth quarter. When she wasn't wearing Sutton-Brown, Moore or Hoffman like bad coats, she was missing anyway due to her sore back. When she came out of the game for the last time in the fourth quarter, the trainer was instantly wrapping her midsection with what looked like cellophane. She also seemed to tweak an ankle during the game. I think it was during a play in the first half when she was going after a rebound or loose ball. It was in front of the Storm bench. It looked like she was reaching for the ball and took a long step forward. She came up limping after passing the ball up the court. Unfortunately, the Storm's upcoming schedule isn't going to allow for much rest.

The only time during the game that it felt like the Storm had lost control and were on the verge of an epic breakdown was at the end of the third quarter. Up to that point, the Storm had withstood the Fever's attacks and had been able to overcome their own normal third quarter slumps. But with a minute to go, it looked like the Storm took a collective mental vacation.

With a minute left, the Storm were up by 14. Catchings hits an easy layup to get it down to 12. After an LJ miss, the Fever take it back up the floor. On a rebound after a January miss, Tanisha gets called for a loose ball foul. There are 13 seconds on the clock. It was on the other end of the court, so I didn't see what happened. The crowd down there seemed to go pretty ballistic. Catchings hits both free throws, getting the score down to 10. When the Storm brought the ball back up the floor, Tanisha took a run at the basket and seemed to change her mind and pull it back out to take more time off the clock (actually a good idea), but traveled when she stopped her drive. The Fever attack the basket as the game clock wound down and Janell got called for a foul on January. Another pair of made free throws and the score is down to 8. With just over six seconds left, the Fever had used the clock and the Storm's miscues to put the Storm on their heels and completely take over the game's momentum.

They must have felt a little too confident about that because Sue was able to take the ball up the court in just a couple seconds and hit Janell for a layup and a foul with just a second left on the clock. Janell hit the freebie and was able to push the lead back to 11.

This had to be the key play of the game. The Fever were on the verge of taking total control of the game and overcoming three quarters of so-so play. If the quarter had ended with that 8-point lead, you know that Douglas and Catchings would have unloaded and the game would have been another nail-biter and potential loss.

Instead, Sue was able to wipe away the Fever's momentum and put the Storm back on even footing with her floor vision, a great pass, and JB's score. The Storm survived a couple questionable calls and a couple bad decisions to make it into the fourth quarter with some life. The closest the Fever were able to get the rest of the game was 10 points. The Storm were able to trade baskets and finish off the game with free throws.

This may not have been the prettiest of wins, but there was a lot here for us to be pretty happy about. The Storm made mistakes, but were able to keep their composure. Their defense was able to take the Fever's big guns out of the game for most of the 40 minutes. They rebounded and forced turnovers while keeping their own turnovers to a minimum even though the turnovers they did commit were on the boneheaded side. Coach Agler is still playing a short roster, but he's at least giving Suzy a few minutes out there and both JB and Pee Wee got good court time.

The Storm really need to win their home games from here on out. Any more road wins would be great. It's hard to think that LA may catch the Storm, but it's a possibility. The Storm have had a stranglehold on second place for most of the season. They are really going to have to work to keep it.

Other notes:

Tonight was Women of Inspiration night and the Storm honored four women from the community for their contributions.

Brianne January had a group of fans at the game with a monster sign. They were sitting up behind the visitor bench.



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