score: Storm 80 Dream 70 (W) (25-4)
Score | Jayda's
without a doubt was the strangest Storm game I have ever attended.
We started out with two straight turnovers and I thought that
team that lost to Tulsa had returned. No one was focused on
offense and when Agler substituted the entire bench I figured
we were in for a long night. At the time I had assumed the
starters would return after a couple of trips down the court
and not sit out the rest of the half. Looking back it was
really funny watching Sue, LJ, Swin ,T and Camille on the
bench. Their body language was like a bunch of schoolkids
sent to stand in the corner and think about what they had
done. The bench played with the focus the starters lacked.
Although she is a non factor on offense Arob was a monster
on the defensive end. She blocked or altered several shots
and totally intimidated every Dream player that came inside.
Lacey ran the point with confidence and did not seem nervous
at all considering how little court time she has had this
year. I think there are advantages to playing the bench as
a unit because they are familiar with each others’ game.
I wish Abby had played more because she is really fun to watch.
She had two good offensive scores and is a stone cold bruiser
on defense. Izzy was having a pretty good game for Atlanta
until she drove down the lane on Abby. It wasn’t a dirty
play and was close to a charge on Izzy but she hit the ground
like a rock. While she was laying on the floor being attended
to, Abby glanced at her for a brief second with look that
reminded me of the scene in Rocky IV when Drago knocked out
Apollo Creed and said “if he dies, he dies.” Izzy
may have hit one more shot the rest of night, but she was
totally knocked off her game.
After seeing this game I am convinced that picking up Abrosimova
is what elevates us from a really good team into a great team.
She is the consummate professional that led the second unit
to come back and make this a game. I might be as bold to say
that had Phoenix signed her, they may have clinched by now
and we would still be fighting for playoff contention. She
did make one mistake though when she made what would have
been a perfect lob pass to LJ that bounced off of Arobs hands
out of bounds. Some plays one cannot make because of who will
be catching the ball. With only bench players we erased a
ten point deficit to lead by one at the half.
funny thing to note is during warm-ups at the beginning of
the game Swin and LJ were the last ones to come out of the
locker room to warm up and before the second half they along
with Sue came out a few minutes before everyone else to warm
up. It’s interesting to watch how players act when they
are in situations they aren’t used to. Near the end
of the first have Sue was sitting with her leg nervously shaking
like she wanted to get back on the floor, Swin looked frustrated
and LJ was sitting back with her legs crossed just chilling.
I was really surprised to see the regular starters begin the
second half. This was good to see because on years passed
AD would bench people to “send a message” but
Agler understands he has a professional veteran team and his
substitution decisions are based solely on trying to win a
ballgame and nothing else.
third quarter was when the officials decided it wasn’t
going to be Swin’s night. On a couple of drives she
was hammered across her arm but got no call. There was no
consistency to the officiating at all. Swin would get touch
fouls at the other end and just couldn’t establish any
rhythm at all.
Starting the fourth we were down by three. One thing that
helped us down the stretch was that Atlanta’s shot selection
was awful. Ironically, this helped their offensive rebound
numbers because the shots were so bad the rebounds were long
ones. McCaughtry forced shot after shot and we cranked up
the defense and that was pretty much that. Offensively, it
was the same story, Sue hit key baskets to get us going, everyone
hit their foul shots, and LJ’s threes put it out of
reach. It did not feel like we had won by ten. It was good
to clinch home court throughout by earning it at the first
opportunity instead of backing into it. Now I need to cheer
for Atlanta to win the East so I can see a championship series