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Final score: Storm 46 – Fire 52 (L) (0-1)

Attendance | 1000 or so

Anthem Xtra Notes | None

Anthem High Note | Okay

Anthem Style | Showtune

Fan Noise | Soothing

Signs | 0

Fan Psyche | Calm

Halftime | Unicycles. Cool!

Ah, the first game of the new season. Everyone except Kamila and Alessandra are here so we should get an idea of what to expect. During the pregame warmups, the team seems relaxed. Katy gets interviewed by Fox Sports. Most of the attention (there are at least 3 camera crews) is on Lauren and Jackie Stiles, Portland’s first round pick. Jackie has a great looking shot. Even during the shoot around, she looks more natural and at ease than most of the other players on the floor. Lauren is talking a lot with Katrina and Tully Bevilaqua (Fire, #4). Having fellow Aussies around has to be helpful for her. Sylvia Crawley (Fire, #00) jams during the shoot around. Why hasn’t she done it during a game yet? The anthem is performed by some of the actors from “Gypsy” playing at the 5th Avenue theater - not bad, about the straightest I ever heard the anthem sung at a sporting event (Note: we will be keeping anthem stats for the rest of the season).

During the player introductions, the two UW grads – Jamie Redd and Amber Hall – get as much applause as Lauren Jackson. Portland wins the tip and Jackie Stiles gets her first basket at about the 19:30 mark. The Storm bench is standing until team gets its first basket. They stay standing until 16:26 when Katy gets a basket. Yikes. Five and a half minutes before the first basket. True, this is the first preseason game and many of these players haven’t had much time to prepare, but it still looked frighteningly familiar. For the trivia buffs out there, Lauren was the third Storm player to score and got her basket at about 14:45 in the first half.

Maybe it’s because Hec Ed is so small (compared to KeyArena), but we can hear everything the players are saying. The Fire players are LOUD, especially Vanessa Nygaard (Fire #17) and Alisa Burras (Fire #41). The Storm seem passive, quiet and tentative compared to the Fire at this point.

We can also see Lauren’s future unfolding before us. LJ is going to be wearing defenders like her form-fitted lycra body suit Canberra Capitals uniform. Nygaard, Burras and Jenny Mowe (Fire #34) have been roughing her up during the first half. The way they are throwing bodies, double- and triple-teams at her, Lauren may never get the ball. Nygaard especially seems to be saying, “Welcome to the WNBA, meet the floor.”

The Storm’s play is erratic and tight. The turnovers are plentiful and Portland is getting all the rebounds. At least the halftime entertainment is cool. A kids’ unicycle troupe performs and finishes their act with one of the older boys hopping his unicycle over one, then two, three and finally four of the girls. The second half gets a little better and the Storm catch up a bit. Lauren ends up with that magical double double (13 points, 10 rebounds) after all. Maybe there is hope.

Final notes: UW coach June Daugherty was in attendance as was Athletic Director Barbara Hedges.