score: Storm 75 Shock 59 (W) (20-2)
Score | Jayda's
Game Blog | Live
from Press Row
E | Rick
L | Annie
we're dominating the Western Conference. Yes, the Storm are
undefeated at KeyArena so far. Yes, the Shock are the worst
team in the league. And yes, by all measures, the Storm should
win this game handily. But these are the exact kinds of games
that will bite the complacent or overconfident in the rear
end. So yes, I had a small concern.
for all of us, the Storm aren't complacent or overconfident
and tonight they took care of business.
game started much more even than I cared for. The Storm started
out a little rough around the edges and seemed to have trouble
connecting or communicating well. The Shock, on the other
hand, were hitting their shots and taking advantage of the
Storm's early offensive miscues.
Storm weren't really playing poorly, they were mostly just
not hitting their shots and found themselves scrambling after
the ball on a couple early offensive sets. The Shock came
at them with a lot of speed and flailing arms which caught
the Storm off guard and it took several plays for the Storm
to begin to adjust.
took awhile for that to happen. The ball just wasn't bouncing
the Storm's way. The Storm put up a good defensive sequence
towards the end of the first and forced the Shock into a poor
shot. The ball came off the rim and bounced down into LJ and
Le'coe (I think) and out of bounds. LJ jumped out to save
it and ended up passing it back into play and right into Kiesha
Brown's hands for an easy layup.
the beginning of the second with LJ and Sue on the bench,
the Storm had a couple terrible offensive sets that had Coach
Agler ready to explode. It looked like on the second one that
the players were confused as to what play had been called
or were reacting to one play call and didn't change when the
play call changed. They were totally confused and ended up
getting a shot clock violation. Coach Agler had seen enough
and called a timeout and laid into the team. He hasn't been
that angry for awhile. I think he was challenging them to
focus and stay together, trying to battle any creeping complacency
he was seeing.
after the timeout, the Shock were able to go on a mini-run
to get the score up by 5 and that brought Sue and LJ back
me, the bigger issue with how the Storm were playing in the
first half was that it seemed they had interest in taking
the ball into the paint. At first, they hit a couple of early
threes to keep the score even in the first quarter while the
Shock were hitting all their own shots. Then, the Storm started
to rely on the perimeter almost exclusively. Yes, they were
hitting them, especially Svet, but by the time they got to
about 5 minutes left in the half the Storm had only hit 10
field goals with 6 of them being threes.
don't really know why they weren't able to establish more
of an inside game up to that point. Maybe you could argue
that they were just going with the hot hand — namely
Svet hitting three after three — maybe not. They seemed
to be passing up opportunities to take shots in the lane.
They did occasionally drive in, but kept kicking it back out
to the perimeter. The Shock didn't really have that impressive
of an inside presence. Oldhe has had some success against
LJ in the past (and she pulled a wicked turn around step through
move against some prime LJ defense for a layup), but the complete
lack of any Storm movement inside had to have been more than
due to Oldhe's activity.
good thing was that as some of the perimeter shots didn't
fall, the Storm started to get some offensive rebounds and
scores. Le'coe especially was able to out fight the Shock
forwards for the rebounds. The Storm started to gain some
traction at the end of the half and get things together. They
turned up their defensive pressure and either got stops and
defensive rebounds or forced turnovers and were able to generate
quick offense. The Storm ended the half, up by 6.
of the best things about Coach Agler is that he is unafraid
to make adjustments, and as the team's record proves he has
been making some good adjustments lately.
Storm started the third quarter by going into the paint early
and often. They started attacking with their first offensive
set, with LJ diving to the basket. She got cut off and had
to pass on the shot, but the tone was being reset.
most of the third quarter, the Storm went on a 14-0 run by
playing their normal stifling defense and attacking the paint.
As soon as the arena announcer pointed out the Storm run,
Crossley hit a shot clock beating three point shot to break
the Tulsa drought. When the Storm drove to the basket, they
were successful. When they settled for outside shots, even
when Svet or Swin hit, they ultimately played slower and weren't
adjustment — keeping Le'coe in instead of Camille. Camille
just wasn't having any success against the Shock bigs but
Le'coe was able to come in and overpower them. Le'coe had
10 rebounds, hit all her shots and wasn't fouling. She had
a very solid game off the bench and was able to provide a
great spark when Camille was coming up empty.
Storm built and carried a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter.
At about the 8 minute mark, Coach Agler started pulling the
starters and had the bench out there with Tanisha, and then
a minute later pulled her as well and went all bench. Ashley,
Alison and Abby went 0 for 10 even though they had open looks.
ARob missed two or three point blank jumpers. Alison had a
couple open-ish drives to the basket, but got cut off at the
last second on each one and had to put up a contested shot.
Abby had an open three that went long. She and Alison both
got fouled and did knock down all their free throws.
of the troubling things to pop up during the final minutes
of the game while it was into serious garbage time, the Shock
started getting very physical and chippy. Who knows what they
were thinking, but it seemed like they were taking their frustrations
out on the Storm bench, most of whom weren't even in the game
when the Storm put the hurt on the Shock. Not a whole lot
of class there. You can change the coach, the city and all
of the players, but some things stay very much the same.
Storm are 20-2 and in firm control of how the end of the season
progresses. Soon, they may be in firm control of the playoffs
as well. We've all been excited to see the Storm clinch a
playoff spot, even though it hasn't been in much doubt for
weeks. With just another win, they'll clinch the Western Conference.
Nice to be sure, but I'm holding out for clinching home court
throughout the playoffs and Finals. That's the big one and
that's why I think the Storm will ultimately keep playing
with the same intensity and drive we've seen thus far. They
aren't going to satisfied with anything less.
Kilbreath was behind the mic tonight as the arena announcer.
I didn't even realize it was him until the second half.
Governor Booth Gardner and current Governor Christine Gregoire
were sitting courtside.