score: Storm 84 Mercury 92 (L-OT) (19-14)
Game Blog | Pelton's
not another overtime? It's been like a theme or something
this season. It's only fitting that the final regular season
home game goes into overtime.
can certainly say that I wasn't expecting the game to be that
close, and to be honest shame on me for thinking that way.
The players weren't thinking that way. They wanted to win.
They knew they could win. They weren't playing to put up a
good fight sans their three All-Star starters. They were playing
with the attitude that they could and should beat the Phoenix
they almost did it.
Mercury didn't rest their starters and in fact came at this
game with their normal rotation. Yes, they have the Western
Conference all sewn up, but they have the Championship in
their sights and are still playing for the best record overall
and home court in the Finals. Even though this game had been
described as meaningless in the media and on the various fan
forums (including ours), neither team seemed to agree.
wasn't messing around. The Storm wasn't messing around. Both
teams wanted this game and fought for it.
will qualify all of that with this though — Phoenix,
Diana and Cappie in particular, weren't playing in their top
gear the whole game. There were stretches when I think those
two slacked off a bit. That was a mistake on their part because
the Storm used the Mercury's lapses to keep themselves in
back to the start. It had been announced yesterday that La'Tangela
Atkinson had been signed to a 7-day contract to help plug
the now gaping chasm on our bench. She was even included in
the Season Ticket Holder event last night. I hadn't read ahead
of the game that the Storm also signed A'Quonesia Franklin
as well, perhaps the first ever signings of two apostrophied
first named players to 7-day contracts WNBA history. I leave
that particular factoid to someone else for clarification/verification.
think the various Storm player efforts to get the fans to
stop being so damn polite to the visiting teams is starting
to take hold. Swin has mentioned it a couple times at fan
events and in a video shown on the big screen. ARob mentioned
it last night at the STH party. Finally, during the intros
for the Mercury, there was mostly silence with only a smattering
of applause. There were even boos for the starters. Okay,
that was mostly me booing with the Meganator. Still, we're
because they were all getting significant minutes and partially
because, as I said earlier, they really wanted to win this
game, we saw some season-best performances from some of the
Storm supporting cast.
and Tanisha carried the most weight. They both put in their
normal performances plus a little extra. It was interesting
to watch Tanisha against the Mercury defenders. With our normal
offensive powerhouses in street clothes, Phoenix knew exactly
who was going to be the Storm's go-to scorer tonight —
Tanisha. She was still able to drive through their defenses
and either score or get fouled. She's not an automatic scoring
machine like say Cappie Pondexter... yet. But I think we can
all agree that Tanisha's on that path. The only times the
Mercury really stopped her was by triple teaming her and forcing
her to pass out of her drive towards the basket.
who I still don't think has any actual plays drawn up for
her, fought like crazy for rebounds and was there to clean
up the garbage. She missed a couple chippies, but stayed with
the play. It's a lot of fun to watch her outjump and outplay
posts players who are taller or bigger than her. She has become
such a cornerstone for the Storm team that I have a hard time
envisioning how we survived without her before Coach Agler
brought her over.
getting into the performances of the Storm bench (which, starter
tonight or not, was everyone else on the court), I have to
talk about Atkinson.
Coach... CAN WE KEEP HER? Seriously. KEEP HER. Sign her for
whatever you have to sign her for.
one game, she showed what we've been lacking from the bench
all season. It was what we got off the bench during the Championship
run in 2004 from Adia, Chelle Thompson and Tully — energy,
a spark, a player coming onto the court with the sole purpose
of making something good happen. Atkinson was such a breath
of fresh air that she almost single handily made most of the
rest of the bench look real bad.
stat line won't tell the whole story. Two points total doesn't
tell how her breakaway run down the court after a steal electrified
the crowd. Eight rebounds won't describe how some of those
kept Storm possessions going or how she knifed her way through
traffic to fight for the ball. Two steals doesn't cover how
one second the Mercury player was cutting through the Storm
defense and the next second Atkinson is flying the other direction
with the ball. She deservedly got more minutes than every
player other than Camille, Janell, Pee Wee or Tanisha. All
I can say is WOW. I want this woman on our team... and how
the hell did she get cut in the first place.
had one of her best outings at home, but still got into trouble
out there when she would get out of control on a drive or
get cut off by the defense. Her decision making process at
that point has been questionable, usually resulting in a really
bad shot instead of a pass back out to the guard on the perimeter.
That said, she did get the ball in the paint on several occasions,
made strong moves to the basket and hit her shots. I think
Suzy needs a lot of playing time to get into her groove, like
on the order of 30 minutes. The Storm are too post heavy for
that to happen this season.
was involved defensively in one of the worst ref calls in
recent memory. Diana was driving to the basket and Suzy was
alone in defending her. DT was moving at an angle to the basket,
kind of along the baseline, and Suzy was matching her so there
wasn't going to be a blocking foul. Suzy was playing great
defense. She had cut off the easy layup and was timing herself
to get a swat at Diana's shot when it came. Diana started
to do a one-handed scoop reverse as she was passing under
the basket and Suzy got a full handed, clean on, block of
the shot. Ref Penny Davis called a foul on Suzy. People were
already yelling at the refs before the play was replayed on
the big screen. Oh man did that place erupt when the video
clearly showed the all-ball block. People booed while the
refs talked it over. They booed through a timeout and really
booed when Taurasi took her free throws. You've got to hand
it to Suzy for playing clean, solid defense, but Taurasi is
going to get her share of superstar calls and that was a doozy.
had opportunities to shine, but fell kind of flat. She had
a big block, but looked unsteady with her shot and did nothing
on the boards. She actually had zero rebounds in a game against
a team that doesn't seem that interested in rebounding the
on the other hand, had opportunities to shine and took advantage.
She had fewer minutes than ARob, but was still able to get
6 rebounds — a couple of which were monsters that she
had to really scrap for — 6 points and a steal. She
looked relaxed out there and did a solid job on defense. I'm
really disappointed that we didn't get to see more of her
because she has been out for so long with that foot injury.
She didn't have the same driven hunger that Atkinson had,
but she did have that tenacity that we haven't seen off the
bench much this season. I hope she sticks around next season.
I'd like to see more of her.
I said earlier, I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this game
and was mildly surprised to see the Storm play the Mercury
straight up through the first half. The second half started
with the Mercury going on a mini-run and threatening to take
the game firmly under control, but then they pulled up. The
Storm started forcing turnovers or getting rebounds and were
able to slowly reel back in Phoenix's 10-point lead.
Storm kept up the pressure and started hitting baskets. They
tied it with about 6 minutes left and then got into a basket-trading
cycle for the rest of the quarter. With one or two more stops,
the Storm might have won this game in regulation. DT and Cappie
were either getting fouled or open shots, however, and were
able to force overtime, wiping out what would have been a
game winner for Tanisha with about 18 seconds to go.
overtime looked a lot like the other Seattle/Phoenix overtime
game a few weeks ago. The Storm sputtered and had a hard time
executing their offense. The Mercury immediately attacked
on any Storm mistakes and seemed to score at will. In that
other OT game, Phoenix scored 17 points in 5 minutes. Tonight,
they scored 14. The Storm had been able to keep pace with
the Mercury's scoring for 40 minutes, but they lost steam
in the last 5.
should have won this game. We could have won this game. You
could see the disappointment on the players' faces after it
was over. They wanted it and weren't happy with how they ended
though we lost, I think the fact that the team believed they
could win even down three All-Stars says a lot about the character
of these women and should give us all hope for the playoffs.
The odds are against the Storm. Yes, they've had a stranglehold
on second place in the West for what seems like most of the
season. Yes, LA has been inconsistent and can be beaten. But
with no LJ, it doesn't look good on paper for Storm success.
think the team's collective answer to that would be, "So
what?" Tonight they showed tonight determination and
a desire to win that might be what it takes to give Lisa Leslie
a sour ending to her good bye season. Won't that be nice?
and I think the Storm will be looking forward to any potential
match up against Phoenix in the playoffs. After tonight, I
don't think the Storm are intimidated at all by Phoenix or
their leaders. Tanisha gave us a little taste of what might
be down the road when she put Taurasi on the floor in the
bring on the Sparks, and anyone else too.
surprise in the first quarter when after a video montage of
"The Legend" of Sue Bird, the arena announcer lets
us know that Sue has signed a multi-year contract extension
with the Storm. Hot damn! That's some unexpected and great
Pondexter had very interesting hair. It was an evolution of
the poof thing she had going the last time they were in Seattle.
Now she has one side shaved down to nothing. The other side
is short, but not shaved and the mushroom-like poof is still
in effect. During some Storm free throws during the first
half, she came down as stood near the baseline in front of
our section. I told her she needs to stop taking hair advice
from Bridgette Pettis. She turned around with a big smile
on her face.
Constantine was in the house. He just happens to be running
for King County Executive and got a warm reception from the
train was delayed until overtime because of a long, involved
fan giveaway that took up all of halftime and several timeouts
during the second half. We didn't win anything. Bleh.
the Storm intros, one of the kids who was handed a ball went
down the line of Storm players getting high fives.
hair is extremely long.
yeah, there was some video with a couple fan interviews and
some screen grabs off a fan website, or something.