score: Storm 82 Sparks 60 (W) (9-1)
Score | Jayda's
Game Blog | psheey's
Game Blog | Live
from Press Row
E | Rick
L | Toni
then. We're in uncharted territory. The Storm are 9-1 and
are having their way with the Western Conference in general
and the Sparks in particular. The Storm are playing with a
focus and determination that at times makes them unbeatable.
started this game going crazy on defense, led by Camille.
They forced LA into a shot clock violation on LA's first possession.
Then over the next few possessions, in the first 3 minutes,
the Storm put the clamps down and Camille was everywhere,
disrupting passes and getting three steals. At the same time,
just like they started the last game, the Storm came at the
Sparks with great balanced scoring. The Sparks couldn't concentrate
on any one player because the whoever was open was hitting.
Storm continued their defensive control of the Sparks through
the first quarter, limiting them to outside jumpers which
the Sparks continued to miss. Tina Thompson's first shot went
nowhere and she flailed around looking for a foul. She didn't
get it (although the refs would come to the Sparks' rescue
later). The Storm's attack had the Sparks kind of shell shocked.
By the end of the first quarter, all the Sparks' starters
were walking up the court. Also, the only way they were scoring
was at the free throw line. The refs started blowing their
whistles on everything the Storm was doing.
refs really insinuated themselves into this game. They were
heavily penalizing the Storm for playing harder and faster
than the Sparks. Of course, the same kinds of things the Storm
were getting called for were being ignored when the Sparks
were doing them. When LJ started to get going, the Sparks
went back to their Michael Cooper-inspired plan of hitting
her at every opportunity. She was getting mauled under the
basket. Every time she ran up the court, Delisha found an
opportunity to throw an elbow or shoulder. You'd think they
would have figured out that crap doesn't work and hasn't since
LJ's hair was darker, shorter or actually red (the current
color doesn't count as red).
Sparks eventually resorted to a zone during the second quarter
to slow down the Storm, and it worked to an extent. The Storm
didn't have nearly the success breaking down the zone as they
did the other night against Phoenix. The Storm started doing
this thing where they would drive about halfway to the basket
and kick it out to the perimeter even when they only had one
defender on them. In my opinion, they were overpassing on
the perimeter. Players weren't taking open shots and when
they did their three point shots weren't falling. LA was able
to get the rebounds. Fortunately, the Sparks were having just
as much trouble scoring on their end. Although, the fouls
kept coming and they kept hitting their free throws. The second
quarter was the Sparks' best defensive stand, holding the
Storm to only 16 points, but they were only able to eke out
16 points of their own.
third quarter was painful to watch, but not because the Storm
were playing poorly or were allowing the Sparks to get back
in the game. In fact, the Storm were able to withstand a Sparks
push and hold their lead around 15. No, what made the third
quarter so unbelievable was the horrible, horrible officiating.
I used to think Roy Gulbeyan and Kurt Walker were the refs
of the apocalypse. They have competition in the form of ref
number 55, Eric Brewton. He single-handily kept the Sparks
in the game in the third. It was embarrassing and I hope the
league takes a hard look at this game and his performance.
thing to look at through the third quarter wasn't the officiating
or how the Sparks were resorting to their old hacking ways,
it was the way the Storm kept their heads and found ways in
spite of all of that stuff to keep control of the game and
build on their lead. In a lot of ways, this was the Storm's
toughest game to date. They played a team they've already
played twice so you'd expect the Sparks to have a better game
plan for going at the Storm's weaknesses. They played a game
which was taken over by the refs and they were being penalized
for playing their style of aggressive defense. They had foul
trouble and had to deal with being in the bonus for long stretches
of time. Through it all, they kept playing hard and smart
and found ways to stay in control of the game.
bench, meaning Svet, La'coe and Jana, came in and did their
energy off the bench thing. The starters played through the
fouls and physical play from the Sparks. They held the Sparks
each quarter to less than 20 points. They help Parker to single
digits until late in the fourth quarter when it ceased to
matter. They took the blows and the whistles and found a way
to take an ugly game and win it by 22.
ugly games is not something the Storm have historically been
very good at. The fact that they are able to gut their way
through games like this now, to me, is a bigger sign of the
good things to come than their 9-1 record. I'm still concerned
about the Storm's other historical soft spot — road
games. We've got a couple coming up. Can they come back home
was taking notes during a timeout and missed the start of
the video clip, but looked up in time to see Coach Agler doing
the Stanky Leg. The bench was cracking up, as were the rest
Alaska Airlines First Class Upgrade went to a couple of fan
newbies which was kind of cool. The announcer asked all first
timers to raise their hands. There really weren't that many.
think the announcer may have been getting a commission based
on how many times he said that the Storm were first place
in the Western Conference.
was one odd play at the end of the first quarter when She
knocked a ball loose, but then couldn't touch it and had to
wave over someone else to pick it up. The only thing I could
think was that she had tipped it to herself or something and
would have been called for a travel or something if she picked
it up. Anyone have an idea of what happened there?