score: Storm 85 Fever 81 (W) (12-2)
Score | Jayda's
Game Blog | psheehy's
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E | Rick
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game looked to be the Storm's hardest test at home so far
and it certainly developed that way. It felt like a playoff
game and might be a preview of the finals if things go the
way it seems they should the rest of the season. At the end
of the game during her player of the game interview, Sue said
that home court advantage is what it's all about and it's
something the Storm really need. If they are fortunate enough
to make it to the Finals and do face Indiana, they will be
in for a scrap and home court will be vital.
that's getting very ahead of where we are tonight.
top thing on my mind before the game was how Sue's knee was
really holding up. I, and I think most of us in the stands,
were very happy to see her running through the warm-ups and
shooting drills pregame without any apparent discomfort. I
did she her stretch a couple of times, focusing on the knee,
but that was it. No brace. No ice. No discernable limp. Major
game was both great and frustrating at the same time. Neither
team, especially through the first three quarters, could establish
control over the other for more than a few minutes or possessions
at a time. As expected I think, the game really came down
to which team could play at their best defensive intensity
for longer and force the other team into mistakes.
first quarter mostly belonged to the Storm. The did have a
short period when they got turnover happy which allowed the
Fever to get some easy transition baskets, but pulled it back
with tough defense at the end of the quarter and built a small
lead. They seemed to be successfully anticipating Fever passing
and were switching a lot on the perimeter and trapping the
Fever guards. They translated that into points on the other
was also interesting that Coach Agler altered his normal bench
rotation a bit and brought in ARob for LJ instead of Veselá.
I hadn't heard anything about a potential injury to Jana,
so maybe it was a matter of match ups for Coach Agler. In
fact, Jana didn't get any playing time this game.
the second quarter started, I got the feeling that the Storm
were trying out some new offensive sets because there was
a lot more confusion and directing of traffic than I've seen
since the beginning of the season. The Fever took advantage
of the Storm slowing things down to force a couple shot clock
violations and turnovers. Douglas started getting hot and
was hitting some crazy shots, including a beyond-the-NBA line
three just because she could. It didn't really matter if she
was truly open or had two Storm defenders draped all over
her. In fact, I think the more off balance she was the better
her shot was. At one point of the game, Angie leaned over
to me and said, "I hate her. She's scary good and a whiner."
And yes, Douglas was in fine whine mode all game. Later, she'd
have a good reason, but she was going on about every play
second quarter mostly belonged to the Fever. They outscored
the Storm by 13 and went into the half with a six point lead.
The Fever were really testing the Storm in a way we've not
seen from any Western Conference teams so far. I'd go so far
as to say the Storm and the Fever are very balanced to each
other and play very similar games.
Storm came out really flat in the third. They weren't getting
anything into the post to LJ and it felt like the Storm weren't
getting any offensive rebounds (the stats at the end of the
game had the Storm with 13 OR, but man it felt like they weren't
getting any second chances during the third). Like I said,
neither team was able to control for more than a few minutes
and the Storm were able to turn it back on defensively. They
started getting rebounds and stops, but turnovers continued
to keep them from capitalizing on their defense. The Fever
were able to maintain an 11 point lead.
the last few minutes of the the third quarter, the refs started
to lose control of the game. They really didn't seem to know
what was going. Their consistency outright sucked. The Storm
were clawing their way back in, still slowed down by fouls
and turnovers, but managed to cut the lead down to five after
getting into the penalty and a Swin free throw. Things started
to get chippy and one ref called a technical foul on Zellous.
During the arguing about that, one of the other refs called
a tech on Coach Dunn. Somehow, that one got waived off and
the Storm only took one free throw for the first tech. There
was no indication on why the second tech was called or why
it was cleared.
Storm started getting very aggressive once they were in the
penalty and were forcing the Fever to switch on defense and
then went right at any mismatches in the paint that developed.
The Storm used the line to get the lead down to two at the
end of the third. The Fever were really rolling at the beginning
of the quarter, but the Storm amped it up and slowly stole
the momentum back by playing great defense and forcing Indiana
into fouling on the other end.
momentum shift was short lived however as the Storm start
the quarter with turnovers that allow the Fever to go back
up by five. Sue hit a couple threes to keep the Storm going,
but the Fever kept answering. Douglas again, of course. The
refs started calling the game tight on the Fever and the Storm
got to go to the line a lot. Unfortunately, they also missed
a lot. La'coe missed a couple, Tanisha missed a couple and
Swin missed a bunch. If the Storm had made have their misses
(and gotten closer to their normal average), the score at
the end of the game would have been very different. As it
was, the Storm regained the lead but couldn't get any space
because of the missed free throws.
was one play near the end of the quarter that made me a little
crazy. Tanisha had the ball at the top of the three point
line and threw this long, slow pass to LJ under the basket
when LJ was being guarded by two defenders. If either of them
had seen that ball coming it would have been stolen away.
Luckily, LJ was able to snatch it out of the air and put it
up. When Tanisha threw the pass, I was all "NOOOOO,"
and when LJ caught it and scored I was all "YESSSSS."
end of the game got crazy. January had a horrible turnover
which allowed the Storm to go down and score, pushing their
lead up to five. Indiana came right back and hit a three to
cut it to two. The Storm got the ball back and called a timeout
to advance the ball. As they tried to get it in, Douglas pushed
Sue from behind trying to go for the ball and the ball went
out of bounds. The refs called it Storm ball right away, but
the Fever, and especially Douglas, went nuts arguing against
the call. The refs eventually went to the video review and
maintained the call on the court — Storm ball. Even
with 1.2 seconds on the clock, it was vital that the Storm
got the ball back. You know that Douglas would have jacked
up a three and would have gone after a call whether there
was contact or not and the way the refs had been going, she
would have gotten the call.
Storm inbounded the ball and got it to LJ. Tully fouled her
and LJ iced the game. Whew.
really thought that the Storm were out of gas at the beginning
of the fourth after having worked so hard to tie the game
after being down by 11. The fact that the Fever quickly recovered
and went up by 5 made me even more nervous. The Storm stayed
with it though and were able to pull it through.
ahead at the Storm schedule, they don't have a Fever-quality
opponent for awhile. They should do well, as long as they
don't allow themselves to ease back after being so dominant
last time we had the guitar kid play the anthem, I suggested
that someone invest in a metronome for him. I make that suggestion
again. Really. Please. Also, perhaps an explanation that going
for dramatic pauses on every note defeats the purpose of dramatic
Moore walked past our seats going up the aisle. I asked her
how her rehab is going and she said that it's going really
arena DJ was going heavy on the Michael Jackson catalog tonight
on the one year anniversary of MJ's death.
Robinson got some blonde highlights. Apparently, LJ's continuing
efforts to get brighter red hair are impacting her teammates.
LJ bobblehead clip debuted with Sue and Swin playing together
with their bobbleheads. LJ comes in and admonishes them for
being too old to play with dolls. After they leave, she sits
down and put the three bobbleheads together and says, "Suckers."