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Final score: Storm 79 – Lynx 76 (W) (2-0)

Attendance | 6687

Box Score | Jayda's Game Blog | psheehy's Game Blog | Live from Press Row

Game Photos | Scott E | Rick | Scott L | Toni

So the Lynx had control of this game most of the way and only lost it at the end of the fourth quarter, and they were missing two of their best players. I think we need to be worried about the Lynx this season.

A huge reason for that is there rookie guard Monica Wright. She led the Lynx in scoring and definitely put up the most shots. She's in a good position to get a lot of playing time and early season experience with Wiggins and Augustus out for the next few weeks. I'm not sure she needs a lot of experience though. She was pretty much unguardable most of the time, driving, elevating and getting whatever shot she wanted. It will be interesting to see how the Lynx coaches incorporate their injured stars back into the lineup. I guess having too many talented players to choose from is one of those good problems to have. Minnesota is going to be very strong and very deep later this season.

Storm vs Lynx  18

The Storm are starting out fairly strong and deeper than in previous years, although we haven't seen that bench depth at home quite yet. Coach Agler is playing the starters a lot of minutes and really only subbing in LaCoe Willingham for any real length of time. Svet and Lacey got a few minutes, but in bunches and Lacey got pulled after getting burned by Whalen a couple times, including a Whalen drive to the basket from the three point line with Lacey staying in front of her the whole way only to get called for a blocking foul. Lacey actually played good defense the whole way (they showed the replay on the big screen) and it looked like Whalen pushed off at the last second. Lacey got called for the foul even though she ended up rocketing backwards from Whalen's forearm. Still, she was getting beat and Coach had Sue come back in.

Sue versus Whalen was fun to watch. I don't think they like each other much. This is just my own recollection, but I think it's accurate to say that Whalen has gotten the better of Sue over the course of their head-to-head battles. Not so tonight. Sue had Whalen figured out and was tipping the ball and stole it twice from Whalen. She also kept Whalen from getting a consistent rhythm going. At the end of the first quarter, the Lynx started to get some steam and ended the quarter on a little run. Whalen got a three-pointer that looked awfully smooth, coming off a screen. I was thinking that we were going to be in trouble if she got going since that shot looked so easy. She did end up with 17 points, but she was hitting free throws more than actual shots. Sue, with some help from Tanisha, was able to keep Whalen from taking over.

The big battles were going on under the basket. LJ and Anosike were going at it pretty hard. Anosike has a lot more bulk than LJ and was muscling her around. Towards the end of the second quarter Anosike got called for a technical that I think happened because she was cussing at one of the refs as she argued a call. On a subsequent Storm offensive set, Swin got fouled and went to the line. Anosike tried arguing her case and I think she said that LJ was cussing too (really? I don't believe it). LJ actually said to the ref, "I don't swear." I don't think Anosike was amused because on Swin's second free throw, Anosike got low position on LJ and jammed her shoulder into LJ's ribs really hard. LJ was rubbing her side on the way back down the court.

Storm vs Lynx  19

The other rumble going on was Camille and Charde Houston. They were knocking each other around just as much as LJ and Anosike. Camille got the better of it by outscoring Houston, but she didn't outplay her by much. Really, the Lynx looked bigger and stronger than the Storm at almost every position, at least as far as the starters went. The Lynx bench were on the skinny/wispy side (although McCants could sky and was able to hit some good shots). I don't remember the Lynx being this physical. If you think about it, the only former Lynx player that was really super physical was Katie Smith. The rest of them may have had size (Ohlde, Hayden), but they weren't as aggressive as this team. Again, the Lynx will be worrisome later this season.

The Lynx got out to a 8-10 point lead that they were able to maintain through the third quarter. The Storm seemed to have a few mental lapses that allowed the Lynx to retain control. For example, there was one play during the second quarter when Whalen took a jump shot and missed. The Storm players around the basket did a great job of boxing out... and then stood there and watched the ball bounce in the middle of them. Instead of going for the ball, they all hesitated to wait for someone else to get the ball (or something), which of course an un-boxed out Lynx player did.

At the same time, the Storm had flashes of brilliance. There was another sequence with the Storm on a quasi-fast break (off of a Lynx miss and Storm rebound). The passing went zip zip zip, with all five Storm players touching the ball as they were able to find the open shooter before the Lynx defense could catch up. It was so pretty and really got the crowd cranking.

The Storm were able to chip away at the lead through the second quarter, but faltered on their last couple of possessions. Lacey took a three and airballed it and then Willingham had a chance at the end of the quarter to get a shot off. LaCoe had the ball with the clock running down and attempted to get off a three. Marginean hacked Willingham across the arms to stop the shot. LaCoe still powered it up and looked for the call. No dice. The place went crazy. It was clearly a foul and LaCoe should have gotten at least two free throws, maybe three if she was behind the line (I didn't see where her feet were). Nope, the ref who was behind the play and couldn't have seen the foul waived it off.

The third quarter went the same way. The Lynx built their lead, but the Storm started to chip away and had a chance to get it down to three. At the end of the quarter though, they muffed a final play with Willingham getting blocked by Houston. The Lynx pushed it back up the floor and scored. Still, the score was down to 5 to start the fourth quarter instead of the 8-10 it had been through the rest of the game to that point.

Storm vs Lynx  65

Things started going the Storm's way in the fourth. We got another one of those pretty fast breaks with Sue leading, finding Svet cross-court with a bullet pass, who then fired it to Swin for a layup. Our first all-UCONN fast break. I hope it's not our last.

The Storm battled back and with a Swin three followed by an LJ three, they got it down to a two-point lead with five minutes to go. The Storm forced the Lynx into a shot clock violation and then Camille hit a layup to tie the game.

The end of the game came down to Swin hitting a ice-in-her-veins jumper and then nailing a couple free throws. This whole game was really the Swin Cash show. She seemed to be the one who was playing the hardest and with the most passion on the team. Like the first game when the whole team was fighting for every ball, tonight it was mostly Swin. She was fighting off two and three Lynx players for rebounds — I made a note in the first quarter that she was surrounded by blue jerseys but still came out with the ball. She was the force behind the team in the fourth as they close the score and took the lead. She's playing like she's the best player on the team right now, which is great because LJ needs the focus off of her for awhile.

Speaking of LJ, she iced the game with an offensive rebound and put back. The Lynx got a final shot off, but it really wasn't that close.

Storm vs Lynx  89

It was an exciting win against a scary opponent and it's great to start out 2-0.

Other notes:

I was worried at the beginning of the game during the introductions. Normally, the team comes out and lines up along the free throw line. Tonight, they didn't do that. Instead, they lined up in front of the line of dance troupe kids. All I could think was, "No changes! No changes!" Change is bad luck. You don't break the routine. Thankfully, it had no effect on the game. Whew.

There was a former Mayor Nickels sighting. He wasn't introduced, but I saw him walking up the stairs during the half. I'm not sure, but I don't think he came to any games when he was in office, did he?

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