score: Storm 111 Shock 65 (W) (24-4)
Score | Jayda's
Game Blog | Live
from Press Row
E | Rick
L | Toni
my good friends, is what the league-leading team playing the
league-worst team is supposed to look like.
Storm tied their highest score at 111 (set against Phoenix
in 2007 and then reached again earlier this season against
Phoenix). They set the league record for a winning margin
at 46 (the existing team record was 41 and old league record
was 45) and had been leading by as much as 52 in the fourth
quarter. And I'd like to see what the league record is for
rebound differential because the Storm won that by 36 —
Storm bench actually outscored the Storm starters, 56-55.
They played an unprecedented, at least to my memory, the entire
fourth quarter plus between 3 and 5 minutes of the third (unlike
Coach Richardson, Coach Agler wasn't using whole line-up changing
substitutions). When the bench started coming in, the lead
was in the mid-40s. The bench not only held that lead, they
built on it and led by as much as 52. Everyone scored except
for Alison Lacey, who had several opportunities. The best
part about this blowout was that the bench had so much time
in the game that several of them were able to get over their
normal jitters/anxiety and settle into a good game groove.
Abby and Ashley both got visibly more comfortable as the quarter
progressed. Besides giving Tulsa a crushing revenge-laced
loss, the fact that the Storm bench got so much quality court
time is what will hopefully pay the most dividends at the
end of the season.
were two players on the court at the end of the game who knew
what was happening — Shanna Crossley and Svetlana Abrosimova.
The way Crossley was playing, and shooting threes, I got the
impression she desperately didn't want to lose by 50. I don't
know if she knew what the actual WNBA record for a loss was,
but she definitely didn't want to be the team that lost by
50. She started jacking jumpers as soon as she had a sliver
of open space, and like the previous game here in Seattle,
she started hitting them. Sveta also must have had an idea
what was going on because she took it into her own hands to
make sure the lead stayed where it was. After Crossley hit
a three to kick the score down to 47 with 32 seconds to go,
Sveta came right back with a three of her own to push it back
to 50. Unfortunately, Tulsa was able to squeak in a couple
free throws and a layup with just 1 second left to get it
back down to 46. 50 would have been a nice round number, but
46 was plenty to break the record. Sorry Crossley.
that was the end of the game. We had some good fun leading
up to Sveta's and Crossley's little scoring duel.
standing in line for 90 minutes in the rain, it was a bit
of a relief to get inside, bobblehead in hand. Once inside,
we got to see the new Storm commercial for playoff tickets
on the big screen. It featured Swin, Le'coe and Camille saying,
"Bring It" into the camera with lots of attitude,
intermixed with highlight clips of the Storm at work. Hopefully
we can get some good crowds for the playoffs. Selling out
all home games would be fantastic. We did sell-out the whole
building for the 2004 Finals (the first Finals series to be
totally sell-out by the way).
Storm honored LJ before the game on her 10th season with the
team. They showed a Top 10 LJ Moments video on the big screen
and then a couple lucky fans (including Stormfans.org All-Decade
Team member LozFan) presented LJ with a giant jersey signed
by fans thanking LJ for all she's done for the team. The owners
presented her with some more expensive hardware, a bracelet
set in red, green and yellow gemstones, 10 each for her 10
years. She seemed genuinely touched by all the attention.
the game got going, it was clear the Storm were on a mission.
They came out fast but were settling for jump shots early
on. LJ took a move into the paint, but missed her shot. Swin
was the Storm's offensive punch out of the gates, hitting
the Storm's first 7 points. Tanisha then started attacking
the paint and while she wasn't getting the baskets she was
hitting her free throws.
Storm started getting a real head of steam, but mid-quarter
they hit a slow patch when the Shock were able to get a couple
steals and convert them into points. The Shock's defense looked
like it was starting to frustrate the Storm about that time.
LJ was getting mugged and was getting very irritated that
she wasn't getting any calls. Swin too was getting tetchy
after Lacy tried to steal the ball from behind Swin as Swin
held the ball over her head. Lacy grabbed it and Swin thought
she had been fouled. When she didn't get an immediate call,
she grabbed at the ball in Lacy's hands and wasn't trying
to just tie her up. She was fairly obviously fouling Lacy
to make a point and was lucky that the ref only called a jump
Shock continued pushing their defense and were able to get
the score as close as 15-9 on four straight Storm turnovers.
That was pretty much it for the Shock. Their high point of
the game came about halfway through the first quarter. From
then on, it was all Storm.
Storm got through their rough spot and took over. Their ball
movement was excellent, swinging the ball around the perimeter
quickly enough that they were able to find open shooters or
find cutting teammates for easy scores. They amped up their
offensive execution and put the Shock on their heels and themselves
on the line for free throws.
they almost didn't get to start shooting free throws after
the Shock got to 5 team fouls. No one on the court seemed
to be paying attention to that number because they had the
Storm bring the ball in from the sideline after the 5th Shock
foul. Luckily, the fans were paying attention because enough
of us were yelling about it that the refs stopped play and
let Le'coe. the Storm player who had been fouled, shoot her
Storm started their onslaught with an 8-0 run and ended the
quarter up 28-9. During the break, I was checking over the
stats (I love the WNBA's iPhone app, love it) and noticed
LJ hadn't scored in the first quarter. Huh. She didn't score
until 8:13 in the second quarter. No matter really, since
her teammates were going nuts. Unlike the Connecticut game
in which it was pretty much all LJ and Swin, this game had
great scoring balance from the Storm and the Storm were able
to punish the Shock for paying so much attention to LJ.
Shock tried to changing things up with a mix of zone and man-to-man,
full-court presses and some crazy arm-waving and yelling,
but none of it really had much of an effect. The Storm were
dominating on the boards and in pretty much every other way.
The Shock's one ploy that seemed to be bearing a little fruit
was to keep frustrating LJ (even though it wasn't really helping
them get back into the game at all). She went up for a defensive
rebound against three Shock players, got hammered and tangled
up, and threw her free arm out to clear some space. It looked
like a wild punch attempt and she's lucky it didn't connect
with anyone. She got called for a foul and was not happy.
The lead was up to 25 at this point and shortly afterwards,
Coach Agler subbed her out.
LJ out of the game didn't help the Shock at all. They were
kind of falling apart, turning over the ball, committing fouls
on both ends of the court, settling for long jumpers and then
letting the Storm beat them to every rebound.
Agler started bringing in the bench late in the second quarter.
ARob finally seems like she might be picking up her game.
She was the recipient of a great inside pass from Tanisha
and was able to finish it with a layup. She got a block on
the other end and was in there boxing out and fighting for
rebounds. I don't want to get all hopeful or anything, but
is she getting better?
got some time in the second quarter as well. She passed on
a three on one possession and instead passed the ball off
to someone else. After the next Tulsa possession as she was
trotting down the court, Coach Agler yelled at her to shoot
the ball. Sure enough, she got the ball and was open at the
three-point line and took the shot. Of course, she made it.
second half started with more of the same — the Storm
playing great, balanced offense and getting stop after stop
on defense. They were starting to put a little razzle dazzle
on the end of their fastbreaks with some great no look passing.
As I said above, with the lead pushing into the mid-40s, Coach
Agler started subbing out the starters with about 5 minutes
left in the third and had them all out in the next couple
of minutes. The bench played out the rest of the game.
cool part of that is that while there were some missed chippies,
mostly from Ashley and Abby, the bench unit didn't let down
at all and kept playing with the same speed and snap as the
starters had done at the start of the game. They kept up the
quick ball movement and the tough defense. The only thing
that didn't happen was a score from Alison Lacy. That was
really the only minor, nit-picky negative from the whole game.
Storm needed this kind of game before they go on that killer
east coast road trip against Connecticut, Atlanta and Washington.
I'm confident that they have it in them to win any of those
games. I'm hoping that because these may be playoff opponents
later on that the team will be motivated to play the kind
of game we know they can play. It also was great for the bench
to play so long and so well. Their confidence has to be on
a high right now and we need that if Coach Agler starts to
sit the starters in preparation for the playoffs.
what I want for the end of the season — a 17-0 home
record (the first regular season unbeaten home record in the
WNBA), only one more loss on the road and no more losses against
Western Conference opponents. I want the Storm going into
the playoffs full of confidence from the top of the roster
down to the end of the bench. If they do all of that, or close
to it, I'm hopeful for the Storm's ultimate outcome.
had a black armband (looked like it might have been tape)
on her left bicep. No one around us had heard anything about
someone passing away and the announcer didn't say anything.
seatmate discovered that Pepperdine was spelled incorrectly
in the program for Jennifer Lacy's alma mater. They spelled
it Perppedine. We joked that only convicts go to "perp"edine.
I added that maybe Marion Jones went to Perppedine. Too soon?
Jay Inslee was sitting courtside with the Storm owners.
the LJ pregame ceremony, Doppler took the giant LJ head on
a stick he had been carrying around and went over to Ohlde
and taunted her with it. It was pretty funny and even she
was laughing a bit.
the halftime warmups, Doppler was also teasing Marion Jones
and had her laughing. She gave him the "I've got my eyes
on you" move.
LJ superfan contest finalists were announced. A little girl
with a saccharine-drippingly cute video won. Second place
was a man named Jonathan who was battling leukemia. He used
being a fan to help him fight his disease and was quoted as
saying, "I can't die, I have Storm season tickets."
I said above, Tulsa had a couple hockey-like line changes
for substitutions. The first time, the arena announcer said,
"Substitutions for Tulsa, (pause) everybody." The
crowd was laughing and gave him an appreciative cheer. he
might have gotten a talking to because when Coach Richardson
did it again late in the game, the announcer didn't say anything.
odd thing in the third quarter — Sue started passing
in the ball on in-bounds plays. It's usually whoever is playing
center or power forward. She did it on three or four in-bounds,
even when other players were available and hadn't run down
the court yet. A wrinkle from Coach Agler perhaps? Making
sure the in-bounds pass is coming from the team's best passer?