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Final score: Storm 86 – Silver Stars 72 (W) (14-2)

Attendance | 7823

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

Game Photos | Scott E | Rick | Scott L

I don't think anyone expected Sue to play tonight. She was suited up and on the bench, ready to come in if absolutely necessary, but as it turned out she wasn't needed. The starters plus La'coe, led by LJ's 31 points and 15 rebounds along with Tanisha's career high 11 assists, were more than enough to hand the Silver Stars another blowout loss.

In fairness, San Antonio has also been hit by the injury bug. Ruth Riley is out with a broken finger. They just waived Megan Franze after she injured her knee and signed Crystal Kelly. They are working in new players and have a rookie coach who just gave birth. The Silver Stars are in second place in the West and are unbeaten against conference opponents, except for their losses against the Storm that is, so they aren't push overs. The Storm blowing them out, even minus Sue, isn't that big a story. We as fans have to guard against expectations because it's going to get easier to take for granted that the Storm will win the "easy" games. So far, it doesn't seem like the team is even close to that mindset. They aren't taking any team lightly.

It's a good thing, because as potentially beaten down as the Silver Stars might seem, they were hanging around in this game until the fourth quarter.

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The Storm certainly looked like they were going to make it interesting to start the game. Their first three shots were airballs. I'm not sure that's ever happened before. The fourth shot, a jumper by Tanisha, missed off the rim. Still standing, I leaned over to Angie and said, "I guess that's an improvement." Luckily, the Silver Stars were about as accurate. By the time Tanisha decided she had enough jumper attempts and started successfully driving the lane for layups, the Storm were only down a couple.

They got hot for a stretch and kicked the lead up to 10. For the most part, the Silver Stars were able to keep the Storm with about an 8-12 point lead for the rest of the second and third quarters.

I think I made the same observation about the game on the 20th, but I had my concerns about the Silver Stars hanging around and their ability to rattle off a lot of points in a hurry. Becky was hitting her threes and Chamique was quietly scoring double digits. Don't get me wrong, the Storm were playing well. Their defensive intensity was very high at times. They were clicking on offense. If you weren't watching the scoreboard, you'd think that the score was 20+ from about the second quarter on. But it wasn't. In fact, the only reason the Storm had a decent lead at the end of the half and the third quarter was because La'coe and Tanisha both hit buzzer beating threes. The Silver Stars, however, kept it close-ish in spite of the big baskets and LJ's scoring barrage.

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I don't think they were doing anything different than they did in the earlier game. One thing I was actively looking for all through the game was what kind of adjustments both teams made compared to the way they played their game a week ago. I was a little confused that it didn't seem the Silver Stars playing the same game, but were hitting more shots.

The Storm did change things up. The were of course forced to because of Sue being on the bench, but they were also feeding LJ in the post a lot more and she was going to town. I got the feeling that in the earlier game, Snow's presence stopped the Storm from playing in the paint as much as they normally do. Tonight, they had no problems going in and weren't intimidated at all by Snow or Appel. They also used their height advantage at the guard positions. With Svet starting, she played Becky and Tanisha was on Lawson-Wade. The two of them were able to post up and drive on their shorter counterparts most of the game.

The Storm didn't turn the game into a blowout until the fourth quarter. LJ owned the quarter and the Silver Stars. The Storm ended the game with a few minutes left. Coach Agler finally started subbing the starters out and had the bench fully in, plus Swin, at the four minute mark. The lead was 22 points. It didn't stay there.

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I think it's safe to say that we haven't seen this bad of a late game bench performance since a couple of the near debacles from last season. The bench scored nothing and were fouling like crazy. The Silver Stars scored 10 points to the Storm's 2 (a layup by Svet). In my opinion, an illustrative play was when ARob took a short range jumper and had it go off the side of the backboard. She then fouled the San Antonio player who got the rebound.

It's clear that we arguably have the best 7-player rotation in the league. Veselá on a good night makes that a respectable 8-player rotation. I get that Lacey and Bishop are rookie projects and am willing to give them some slack. Lacey especially shows promise and doesn't look like she's intimidated by being out on the floor. That said, is a 7- to 8- person rotation enough to go all the way? We are legitimately looking a deep playoff run and the potential for the big enchilada. We need more out of ARob than a block.

Storm vs Silver Stars  75

Other notes:

Donna Orender and Dee Kantner were at the game and had a short Q&A with some season ticket holders. Kantner is good. She was direct and didn't back down from answering questions. She didn't really say anything I didn't expect to hear. Refs are human, they make mistakes. Each game is reviewed and the refs are accountable for their calls. Most of the time, what we see and react to is wrong - we're not seeing what they're seeing. She did say that it's possible for a defender to establish position and then move and still get a charging call against a driving offensive player. Hearing her describe some of the rules made me think that a better exercise with fans would be to spend more time at these kinds of meetings and actually go over some film so we can see what she is talking about - and so we can show what we are talking about. Simply talking in the abstract only goes so far. She seems honestly interested in being transparent and working to educate the fans on how the refs do their jobs. This meeting was good, but I think they could go a step further.

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