score: Storm 91 Dream 84 (W-2OT) (18-11)
Game Blog | Pelton's
| Scott E | Rick
overtime again? Really? The Storm may need to start supplying
the ushers with portable heart defibrillators if they are
going to keep giving us all heart attacks like this.
the game even started, we had some drama. Word spread through
the arena that LJ's back injury is actually a stress fracture
and that she wouldn't be playing in this game. Speculation
was that she'd probably be out for the rest of the season.
Hope was that she might be back for the playoffs. One way
or the other, the Storm were going to have their hands full
with the Dream.
can I say about this game? Hearing that LJ was out didn't
give me a lot of confidence. The Dream handled the Storm fairly
easily down in Atlanta, and that was with LJ. The way the
Storm played this game was both great and jaw-droppingly horrible
all at the same time. Their defense came up huge time and
time again at the end of quarters, regulation and the overtimes.
On the other hand, the Storm were almost completely unable
to hold onto the ball, committing 25 turnovers for the game
(14 of them in the second half and overtimes).
horrible part of all those turnovers was that so many of them
were crazy sloppy. I think there were 4 or 5 Storm inbound
passes that were tipped or straight up grabbed out of the
air by a Dream defender. The same thing was happening with
passes from the perimeter into the post players. The Dream
defenders looked like defensive backs picking off interceptions.
A Storm player would throw a high, slow pass over the Dream
player only to have that player easily grab the ball like
it had been passed directly to her. You know, the first time
that happens, you can chalk it up to heads-up defense. The
second time, you have to start thinking about not passing
over a defender with long mutant arms. The fifth time —
it's you, not them.
Storm were almost just as butterfingered with the ball as
they drove into the paint. The Dream was slapping and poking
at the ball all game, but the Storm players continued to drive
in against two and three defenders. One-on-one, we did pretty
well. One-on-three meant the ball was getting stolen. According
to the box score, the Dream had 21 steals. That is insane.
I swear it seemed like the Storm had suddenly developed tiny
hands like the guy in that new Burger Kind commercial. The
worst part of all that was how fast the Dream got up the court
for a score. Too many times, Storm turnovers due to poor ball
handling led to free baskets by the Dream. It was honestly
fairly amazing that the Storm were able to keep up with Dream
even with all the mistakes.
Storm's ability to stay in the game was due to their defense
and the ability of Sue and Tanisha to break down the Dream
defense. Sue, to start the game, was a woman possessed. She
seemed like she was determined to make up for LJ's absence
all on her own. She was particularly effective defending Izi
once Izi got over her "pregame ceremony bump" success.
Izi was recognized before the game for her inclusion on the
Storm's All-Decade team. Of course, recognizing a player on
another team before a game means she goes off and scores like
crazy on us — hence the pregame ceremony bump. Izi started
the game hitting the Dream's first 8 points. She kind of disappeared
after than and wasn't a huge factor in the game. This was
mostly due to Sue's smothering defense on her.
was also looking for her own shot much more often than normal.
She kept us in the game along the way and then did it for
real at the end of regulation by scoring the Storm's last
7 points including a three to put the game into overtime.
She did have her frustrations though, mostly with the refs.
She wasn't getting any calls when she drove into the paint
was got hacked or knocked to the ground. She also got into
a long discussion with the refs after the Dream called a timeout
near the end of the game. Lehning got the inbounds pass and
dribbled the ball before the timeout was called. The refs
said that the timeout came first, even thought it clearly
did not. Sue was going on about that one well past the incident,
including into the overtime.
was really the only other Storm player who was able to consistently
get her shot. She was able to drive to the basket, usually
along the baseline and flipping up reverse layups to avoid
the long arms of DeSouza and Lyttle, and get key jumpers in
the fourth quarter and overtimes to keep the Storm in the
game. Yes, she had turnovers, but only half as many as Swin
(4 compared to 8). Tanisha also had 6 assists to go along
with her 25 points.
Storm's defense was a little schizophrenic — they were
unable to do much against DeSouza or Lyttle for much of the
game, but then were able to come up with big stops late in
the game. I was honestly surprised the Dream didn't go in
to their posts more often. They were able to pass over the
Storm whenever they wanted. It wasn't until the Storm started
fronting DeSouza and had timely rotation from their weak-side
defense that they were able to control the paint. Janell in
particular came up with a several huge defensive stops at
the end of the fourth quarter and in the overtime periods.
getting stops during the second overtime, the Storm were able
to eke out a small two-possession lead. The Storm forced the
Dream into three turnovers and were then able to convert those
into points. The Dream had to resort to fouling and Tanisha
buried all her free throws. The Storm took control and put
the game away.
their last five games, the Storm have beaten the top five
Eastern conference teams. They've clinched a playoff spot.
With 5 games left, they have a relatively strong lock on second
place and have an outside chance at first place. Without LJ,
the Storm are going to have to stop missing the easy shots,
get more consistent production from their bench (all of our
starters were up over 40 minutes played in this game), and
they need to take their defense to any even higher level.
They can do it. All of them, regardless of their current issues,
have played better in the past (I'm looking at Suzy and the
Ashleys — lack of playing time or not, there's not much
excuse for the deer in the headlights reaction every time
you get open for a shot). In a crazy reverse psychology way,
I wonder if having LJ out and missing the upcoming road trip
won't be a catalyst for bringing the team together and getting
them to focus. I hope so. Otherwise, things might get ugly
to end the season.
were a bunch of little kids trying to shoot baskets before
the game. Some of the kids weren't much bigger than the basketball
- literally. It was cute.
presented a Storm jersey with the number 4 and "NOLA"
to a representative of a group working to help rebuild New
theme was Back to School Night. There was a spelling bee during
halftime. From the results, I'd say were all doomed and that's
spelled D-U-U-M. I will admit I probably would have had trouble
with "anemometer" under the pressure of spelling
it in front of 9,000 people. One kid had to spell anniversary
and couldn't, even though it was printed on his own shirt,
on the podium Shelley Hart was using and on the shirt of one
of the camera guys which Doppler was emphatically point to.
Like I said, doomed.
was one of our bigger crowds in awhile. It was noticeably
louder at the end of the game and I think it had a real impact.
I hope we can get at least lower bowl sellouts once the playoffs
big cheese Steve Ballmer was sitting courtside. I told Angie
I hoped he would do MonkeyBoy.
He didn't. I was disappointed.
Kilbreath was back as the arena announcer. He subbed in last
year for a game too while the new guy was on vacation, so
he was probably only here for one game. It was good to have
Swoopes was in the stands! She got an extended standing ovation.