score: Storm 76 Sparks 75 (W) (28-6)
Score | Jayda's
Game Blog | Live
from Press Row
E | Rick
they have played that one any closer at the end? Do they want
to kill us? Drama and theatrics aside, this stage is done.
The Storm finished the regular season with a record tying
28 wins and a record making 17-0 home record. Let's not forget
that they also have the best road record in the league this
season at 11-6. They broke the record for best Seattle professional
team win percentage at .824. And if I'm not mistaken, they
have one of the best point differentials in WNBA history at
7.9 (they had it up to 10 for awhile there).
game was tighter than I expected it would be. Even after the
lackluster performances we've seen lately with extended rest
for starters and whatever was going on in the team's collective
head the other night against Minnesota, I thought we'd see
more of the early to mid-season domination we know the Storm
are capable of. Yes, again, the other team had "more"
to play for than the Storm. LA was still chasing a playoff
spot period while we were playing to set a record for regular
season home wins. LA had a little more desperation about them
and they didn't let the Storm run rampant the whole game.
Storm's attitude, their body language, everything looked much,
much better than all of it did against Minnesota. Their heads
were definitely in this game. Their energy and determination
were there from the tip. The only black mark against them
was on defense. They weren't rotating very well and were allowing
the Sparks to hit cutters under the basket for easy layups.
also had a serious problem with Tina Thompson. She was hitting
jumpers like crazy, including some of the highest arching
three point shots I think I've ever seen. It didn't really
matter who was guarding her either, she was shooting over
everyone. I got the distinct impression that she had it in
her head to personally keep the crowd out of the game and
to deny the Storm from getting their 17-0 record.
Storm countered with some fantastic individual play of their
own, led by Camille and LJ. During the second half especially,
Camille was the Storm's go-to player. LJ had been lighting
up the Sparks in the first half because they were switching
on defense and she ended up with guards defending her in the
post. The Storm fed her the ball and she either scored or
passed back out for scoring. In the second half, the Sparks
started double- and triple-teaming LJ which left Camille open
and she took advantage. I think she had something like 4 or
5 straight baskets for the Storm. She finished the game with
a new career scoring best.
I said, the game was very close through the first half and
into the third quarter. I kept anticipating that the Storm
would blow it open and go on a run. All it would take was
a couple defensive stops and some solid execution on offense
to break the trading baskets routine that had the score tied
or bouncing around single digit leads for either team.
run finally came at the beginning of the fourth quarter (of
course, when else would the Storm take control — any
earlier would be less dramatic). They started the quarter
with two defensive stops and three unanswered baskets. They
pushed their lead up to 12 points and it looked liked this
might be it – the Storm were going to put the Sparks
away and take their 17th win at home.
Sparks came right back, however, with an 8-0 run. The worst
part of it came on a totally bogus foul call against Tanisha
as she blocked a three-point attempt by Noelle Quinn. The
block was clean, even on replay, and the only thing that they
could have called was that Tanisha got part of Quinn's hand
on the ball. Well, the hand is part of the ball according
to the rules — except for tonight. So, instead of a
clean block, we got a foul and they got three foul shots which
Quinn made. LJ missed a shot on the other end, the Sparks
got the ball and Tina hit another three that almost hit the
scoreboard it was so high. Our finally-comfortable 12 point
lead was down to 4.
lead stayed there until about two minutes left when the Sparks
hit two baskets, including yet another Thompson three. They
took the lead. The Storm were having all sorts of problems
scoring a basket. LJ hit a jumper at about the 5:30 mark and
that ended the Storm's scoring until Tanisha hit the eventual
game winner almost 5 minutes later. They missed 8 shots in
the meantime and had a shot clock violation.
the shot the Tanisha made wasn't easy. It was a fade to the
baseline jump shot at the end of a shot clock that bounced
around the rim, taunting us, before it finally fell through
and giving the Storm the lead by 1.
got a final attempt with a second left on the clock. Marie
Ferdinand-Harris took a three for the win and missed. LJ grabbed
the rebound and that was it.
so many blowouts, so many come from behind wins (even being
down by 20 for one game), the Storm complete their regular
season at home with a nail-biter against an arch-rival and
potential first round playoff opponent.
the Storm swept both Phoenix and Los Angeles 5-0 this season.
Phoenix coach Corey Gaines has been banking on the odds that
one team beating another 7 times in a season is just too difficult.
I'm sure Jennifer Gillom is thinking the same thing.
I can say is that if the Storm bring their A game and play
the way we know they can play, I'm confident they will indeed
beat Phoenix, Los Angeles or anyone else they end up meeting
in the playoffs.
Everyone's favorite Jamaican
was at the game, sitting courtside, and leading the crowd
in cheers and during Doppler's train.
saw Barbara Turner up on the concourse before the game. It
took a couple of seconds for her to register and she was gone
in the crowd before I could go back and say hello.
the team entered the floor to the sounds of ACDC's Hell's
Bells, all the announcer said to start it off was "16-0."
were apparently fans 3001+ because we missed out on the "I
am Home Court Advantage" t-shirt giveaway. Too bad they
only printed 3000. The lower bowl would have been a sea of
green if everyone had gotten one.
was Fan Appreciation Night and I have to say that it was the
best one ever, and not just because our row won a set of signed
bobbleheads. They were giving away stuff to whole sections,
whole rows, the VIP sections, signed jerseys, signed balls,
signed all-star jerseys, tons of stuff. Best. Fan Appreciation
and oldfan_newteam got the Alaska Airlines courtside seat
upgrades and looked like they had a good time in the pimp