score: Storm 83 Sun 82 (W) (23-4)
Score | Jayda's
Game Blog | Live
from Press Row
E | Rick
L | Annie
was a tense, worrisome and odd game. The odd part for me was
that Angie and I missed the whole third quarter because we
were bidding on the pink Storm jerseys the players were wearing
for Breast Health Awareness night (we won Camille's!). So
my normal game viewing experience was pretty disjointed.
guess the good thing is that we got to see the good parts
of the game — the first quarter and the end of the fourth
— and missed the pain.
this game, my thoughts were focused on how the team would
respond to their two road losses at Minnesota and Tulsa. I
think most people weren't too concerned or upset at the Minnesota
loss. The Lynx are a better team than their record indicates
and the Storm's wins so far have been close. It was kind of
a matter of time before the Lynx would get the stuff together,
catch some luck and win a nail-biter against the Storm. In
the post-game interviews, most of the players said as much.
It was unfortunate that the Seattle win streak got snapped
and it happened against a Western Conference team (I would
have loved to end the season with an unbeaten conference record),
but it was okay that it happened before the playoffs start
and with enough time to give the team a chance to work on
the things they need to fix.
no one was freaking out. Then, the Storm lost to Tulsa and
there really weren't any good takeaways from that loss. Tulsa
is as bad as their record indicates. The Storm, even on an
off night, should have beaten that team. Whatever lessons
the Lynx loss may have taught the Storm, the wisdom earned
hadn't sunken in yet. It was easily the worst game the team
has played this year and they were completely out of sync
on offense and defense. If the Lynx loss was a teachable moment,
the Tulsa loss was a warning sign. The Storm are vulnerable
when they lose focus and with so much wrapped up in terms
of playoff position, their focus may be questionable.
how will the team respond? What have they learned and how
will they apply it?
the first quarter, at least, they responded really well. They
were back to their normal aggressive selves on offense. Swin
and LJ immediately set the tone by attacking the paint and
hitting from outside. A lot of the plays that weren't working
on the road suddenly were. Players were passing well out of
double teams and hitting teammates cutting through the paint
for open layups or they were getting the ball out to the perimeter
and finding open shooters in the corners.
defense, they were going after Tina Charles the same way they
went after Sylvia Fowles. They were picking up Charles outside
the paint so that she couldn't get deep position and then
once she got the ball the Storm were very quick with their
double teams. The other Storm defenders were rotating as well
to cut off any open Connecticut players from getting a pass
from Charles out of the double team. The problem with this
strategy as it developed through the game is that Charles
has an outside shot while Fowles really doesn't. Charles was
able to get the ball and shoot it efficiently before the double
team got to her. She didn't need to go into the paint to score
Storm built what seemed to be a decent lead going into the
second quarter, but it didn't feel very solid. I think because
of the way Charles was hitting her shots from outside, it
forced the Storm defenders to come out of the paint which
opened it up and allowed for Sun players to make cuts to the
basket for easy layups. They started using Charles as a decoy
so their guards could run past and over the Storm defense
and it took awhile for the Storm to recognize this and adapt.
Of course, as soon as they started hesitating on the double
team for Charles, she was able to go one-on-one and started
going to the basket instead of staying outside.
top of that, the rest of the Sun were hitting their shots.
They were able to keep the Storm in reach and eventually started
to creep up. The Storm lead vacillated between 7 and 5 for
most of the second quarter. Their offensive punch slowed down
and they had some miscues that lead to a couple shot clock
violations. It was a very nerve wracking quarter. Normally
when the Storm are up early, they are able to build the lead,
even with the bench in, and really put the other team back
on their heals. Not so tonight. The Storm couldn't put together
any strings of defensive stops or offensive success and the
Sun stayed with them point for point.
couple of first half items that caught my attention: Sue looked
like she might have knocked knees with someone with about
three and a half minutes left in the half. She came up limping
a bit and was rubbing the side and back of her left knee.
I didn't notice any trainer attention on her knee before the
half and didn't see a brace or anything after the half, so
maybe it was just a momentary stinger.
old friend DeMya Walker made her way onto the Sun and had
a couple fine flopparific moments. She had one offensive play
where she got the ball and ended up with her back to the basket,
but was under the backboard so didn't have any kind of clean
shot. She had LJ and one other Storm defender on her, so she
kind of flung herself at LJ, moving backwards and sideways
and just tossed the ball up over her head as she fell to the
floor. Thankfully, no call for what was an obvious flop. Then
on defense, she somehow ended up on the floor backpedalling
in front of LJ who was diving to the basket. She ended up
tripping up LJ who also went down. The play had been to get
the ball to LJ I think because once she was on the floor,
the play kind of fell apart and the ball got loose. The shot
clock was winding down and luckily Tanisha got the ball and
put up a shot that unfortunately missed.
Storm really didn't have an answer for Renee Montgomery. She
was blowing past people at will it seemed and even after she
put up some serious numbers early, the Storm defense was still
allowing her to run free later in the game. The refs were
also giving her a lot of deference. Just because a player
throws herself around and then gets up after running into
someone yelling for a foul doesn't mean she's right. She's
just loud. Quit rewarding attitude.
I said, Angie and I missed the third quarter almost entirely
because we were stuck up on the concourse waiting to pay for
our auction win. As we were walking back to our seats, I got
a glimpse of the scoreboard through one of the entry ways
and was surprised to see the game was tied. What happened?
Apparently, the Storm's slide continued into the third quarter
and the Sun kept hitting their shots. Momentum definitely
seemed to be going Connecticut's way as they went up by four
to end the third quarter.
one thing we've all learned this season about this team and
Coach Agler is that they are able to make in-game adjustments
very well. The Storm came out of the quarter break and played
hard for the next ten minutes. LJ especially looked like she
was playing with as much intensity as she has all season.
The Storm got back to attacking the basket and anticipating
where each other was on offense, hitting the cutting players
and looking for open shooters. Things started to click again,
but the Sun continued to answer.
Sun continued to get offensive rebounds and steals off the
Storm and were able to keep the Storm from putting together
a scoring run. Part of the issue the whole game, I think,
was that the Storm fell into a pattern of LJ and Swin producing
all the scoring. The Storm weren't nearly as balanced as they
have been previously which allowed the Sun to concentrate
on LJ and Swin. We also got perhaps the worst performance
from our bench since the beginning of the season. Without
support, LJ and Swin had their hands full of Sun defenders.
I said, the Storm played the fourth quarter hard. They reeled
in the Sun and even though they still had too many broken
plays or shots that looked like they were put up looking for
fouls more than looking for scores, they got the score down
to 3 with a little more than 2 minutes left (this, after the
Sun had their lead up to 7 with about 5 minutes to go).
Storm got a huge three-pointer from Sue to get it closer and
then after forcing a Sun shot clock violation (the crowd noise
was deafening), Swin got fouled, hit both her shots and tied
the game with just over a minute left. On the next Sun possession,
Montgomery again ran through people in the lane and got a
foul call. She missed the second free throw and the Storm
got the ball. Then Tanisha got fouled, hit both shots and
the Storm finally took the lead by one. Could they really
pull this off again?
last 30 seconds were broken plays, mad scrambles for loose
balls and way more drama than any of us want. It all ended
with a Tan White attempt at a long range buzzer beater than
went off the front of the rim. Amazingly, the Storm pull out
yet another come from behind win, this time in the final minute.
worry is that the luster is off the Storm's success so far
and other teams will smell blood in the water. The Storm's
weaknesses are being exploited by bad teams, leading to tight
games and either Storm losses or squeaker wins. Yes, the Storm
are about to wrap up home court for the entire playoffs if
they make it to the Finals. But, other teams are figuring
us out and other teams are getting hot. Getting into a slump
at the end of the season will kind of wipe away the early
successes if the Storm lose their focus and momentum. None
of the teams we might face in the playoffs are going to be
pushovers. Phoenix scares me right now. Even LA might still
be in the Storm's heads because of our playoff history. Minnesota
is finally playing better and knows they can beat us. Yes,
we have our playoff position set, but nothing is going to
was Breast Health Awareness night and everything was pink.
At one point, the arena announcer asked everyone who either
had or had been impacted by cancer to stand up. An alarming
number of people stood up. Alarming.