score: Storm 82 Mystics 76 (W) (4-0)
Score | Jayda's
Game Blog | psheehy's
from Press Row
E | Rick
L | Toni
don't know how much more of this I can take. Getting behind
by double digits only to come back in the fourth quarter for
the win makes for exciting basketball, but it's a dangerous
way to play the game.
cliché is to say that the game was a story of two halves.
This one was more like a story of three and a half quarters
and the other half quarter.
truly controlled this game well into the third quarter. They
out muscled, out hustled and out played the Storm from the
get go. In what appears to be an emerging pattern, the Storm
were getting pushed around and beaten up under the basket.
Again, it seemed that at every position the opponent had bigger
and stronger players who were able to dictate the pace and
flow of the game.
Mystics were very active at the beginning of the game on defense,
disrupting the Storm by jamming passing lanes and seemingly
easily reading when the Storm were throwing the ball into
the post. There were a lot of Storm turnovers from lacksidasical
passes and quick Mystic defenders.
play that stood out as a sign that the Storm didn't have their
head in the game came near the end of the first quarter. The
Storm defense forced a Mystics' shot clock violation. A shot
went up and hit the rim as the shot clock buzzer sounded and
La'coe got the rebound. She stopped and walked with the ball,
expecting that the refs had called a dead ball on the violation.
They hadn't. Instead of getting the ball back as a reward
for good defense, Willingham turned it over and gave it right
back to the Mystics. Washington turned around on their next
possession and got a bucket.
wasn't just that the Mystics were disrupting the Storm's offense,
they were shredding the Storm defense as well. Lindsey Hardinig
was slicing and dicing for her own shots and finding Currie
or Langhorne for theirs.
the second quarter, the refs asserted themselves and even
their floor-colored jerseys couldn't disguise how much they
were altering the game. Veselá came in instantly got
called for a couple quick, ticky tacky fouls. LJ got called
for a blocking foul on a drive by Sanford in which LJ had
her back to the basket, Sanford drove by and used her left
arm to hold off LJ while she layed up the ball with her right
arm. LJ was straight up and down. There was no body contact,
just the arm contact that Sanford initiated. Foul on LJ. Tanisha
got called for a blocking foul as she moved sideways keeping
pace as a Mystics player drove from the three point line across
the lane. Tanisha had her hands up and kept her feet moving.
Still, a foul.
last few minutes of the second quarter were almost hard to
watch. Washington completely controlled the paint on both
ends and was scraping for every rebound and loose ball. There
wasn't any of the defensive intensity or determination that
we had seen in the first couple of Storm home games. Still,
the Storm only ever let the score get up to a 13 point lead.
The way the Storm were playing in the first half, they were
lucky to only be down by 13.
the end of the half, LJ had two points, Sue had three and
Camille had nothing. Real concern was building.
third quarter started just as rough. LJ was getting mugged
and not getting anything from the refs while Washington was
getting fouls on nearly every possession. The killer play
that had me really worried that things might get out of control
was Katie Smith shooting a three over Tanisha. At some point,
I didn't notice when, Katie started taking on more of the
ball handling responsiblity. She was leading the plays and
at times bringing the ball up the court. On the killer play,
she had the ball at the top of the three point line with Tanisha
guarding her. The clock was running down and she really didn't
have any options to dish out the ball. She did this sick shake
and bake move getting Tanisha off balance and then rose up
and sank the three.
of that pushing the Mystics forward, it mearly slowed down
the Storm a little bit as they started to turn things around.
Little bits at a time, the Storm chipped away at the lead.
They started to get their shots to fall and started to disrupt
the Mystics' offense. I think part of it was the Mystics'
decision to give the ball to Smith. With Harding taking a
secondary role, her team couldn't feed off her aggressive
moves. Katie is bigger and stronger, but Harding is much faster
and more slippery.
Storm finally got a head of steam going into the fourth quarter.
Svetlana and La'coe came off the bench and were able to inject
some energy into the game. Svet hit a big three to really
get the Storm rolling. La'coe finally started beating her
defenders in the post and hitting some baskets. The Storm
made an important adjustment in that they started getting
the ball in to the post sooner and the post players started
making their moves to the basket quicker, getting their offense
moving before the bigger and stronger Mystics defenders could
react. In the first half, the Mystics were beating the Storm
to their spots. In the fourth, it was the Storm beating the
beat them they did. The Storm were running away with the game.
Up by 11 and looking good with three minutes, the Storm showed
once again that they are having a hard time playing with a
lead. A bad pass, bad shot and then a foul lead to six quick
Mystics' points. The Mystics got it down to three points with
a minute left but they couldn't come all the way back. Swin
hit a big jumper and then Sue hit free throws to close out
and win the game.
was a great, exciting finish to the game and that's always
fun. But, this kind of pattern can only be dangerous in the
long run. 4-0 is the Storm's best start ever and I like the
flashes of defensive brilliance we've seen over these first
few home games. If the Storm can start putting together complete
games instead of having great quarters, they might be unbeatable.
introduction line was back to normal with the team lining
up along the free throw line. I was relieved.
was a half-court shot contest at halftime and one of the girls
hit it on the first try. Angie was like, "Sign her up."