score: Storm 61 Fire 56 (W) (8-8)
Xtra Notes | A couple
High Note | S'okay
Style | Folk balladeer
Noise | Them: Quiet – Us: Psychotic
| A lot, including a setup
Psyche | Them: What the? – Us: Oh yeah!!
| Kid's scrimmage
basketball wisdom holds that after just about any emotional
win/loss or extended overtime game and when facing a rested
opponent the next night, any given team will lose and probably
lose badly. Mental, physical and emotional fatigue is supposed
to be so intense that the odds that such a team, like the
Storm, can win are slim to none. Add in the fact that the
Fire have been playing pretty well lately and almost beat
the Comets a few nights ago. Conventional wisdom is against
we dont need no stinking conventional wisdom.
right. Not only do the Storm win, they do it well. Lauren
gets her first real double double (we dont
count the one from last night since it took two overtimes
before she got her 10th rebound). True, there is almost a
9-minute scoring drought during the second half. But guess
what, the Fire cant score either. The last Utah game
aside, this is one of the best defensive games we have seen
the Storm play. But lets not get too far ahead of ourselves.
We have a little matter to discuss first.
the Fire mascot.
the ever-growing pantheon of Storm arch-villains (which so
far includes Lisa Leslie, Debbie Black and Tuly Bevilaqua
additional nominees, anyone?), a new pedestal is being
reserved for Spot. Oh, he looks loveable (shouldnt someone
be calling Disney to report a missing 101 Dalmatian?), but
he is a devious little bugger. He knew we were coming and
planned a little ambush.
the game starts, we of course start yelling our fool heads
off nearly every time a Storm player leaves the court, enters
the court or moves even slightly in our direction (we are
sitting in the corner of the stadium, above the tunnel the
visiting players use). To our delight, there is a guy sitting
behind the Storm bench with a huge I (heart symbol)
Storm sign, which he proudly shows to us. We, like the
trusting souls that we are, give him a big cheer. Great, we
think, we arent the only Storm fans in attendance.
makes his way to our section and plays nice to begin with,
getting a couple of high-fives. He then begins his psychological
warfare campaign by brandishing a Wheres Dopler
sign (hes a dog, you cant expect him to spell
correctly), and giving us his best bodybuilder poses. We cheer
him down with Go Spot, go, which quickly becomes
Neuter Spot, neuter. Oh yeah, we can play too.
1 Storm Fans.
is about 75-80 fans in our group, but do ever we make some
noise. There is a definite echo inside the Rose Garden. With
the UW megaphones that Beancounter gives to Angie and I, along
with the crazed screams of the Simone Zone crew, our little
group is giving the other 7,000 in attendance a run for their
money. And the Storm are giving us a lot to cheer about.
paragraphs into the story and Im just now getting to
the game. Youre not going to find quality, to-the-point
reporting like this in the traditional media. Anyway, what
a game! From the get go, the Storm do not look tired or beaten
or fatigued. This is one occasion when Coach Dunns substitute
early, substitute often scheme not only makes sense, but works
awfully well. Every player in a jersey gets some playing time
tonight. If we hadnt sat through the 60-minute game
the night before, we wouldnt have believed they played
it by the way they are performing tonight.
defense is disruptive, aggressive and consistent. The offense
well, the offense is doing pretty well too, except for a couple
of problems. The first is Semeka. We dont want to sound
harsh or unappreciative, but she is the only Storm player
that seems to be making poor decisions with the ball. She
tries to drive and loses control of the ball, turnover out-of-bounds.
She tries to drive, spins and gets called for a charge. She
tries to drive, heads into a double- or triple-team and heaves
up a bad shot which leads to a Fire fast break. We like Semeka,
we like her a lot. She is passionate, energetic and, at times,
oozes talent. She also turns the ball over and takes bad shots
sometimes. Hopefully, the experience of 3M and Sonja will
help Semeka get past these tendancies and turn her into the
potential superstar she can be.
on in the first half, the guy with the I love Storm
sign moves over in front of us and actually gets up on the
arenavision. Of course, all the Fire fans boo and hiss while
we cheer and scream. It doesnt occur to us that hes
getting on the screen while we havent yet. Hmmm.
second problem in the game is the officiating. Its hard
to not start complaining about the officials when the calls
are either so bad or missed so blatantly. Lauren, Simone,
Stacey, Michelle and Jamie all get hacked repeatedly without
getting any calls. Jackie Stiles gets any call she wants.
If the refs were consistent and called the same fouls on both
ends, we could live with that, but they arent. Lauren
has commented on this in the press and says that it is up
to her to adjust. How can a player adjust to the officiating
style if it keep changing for every play? Enough.
nearly the end of the first half and the Storm are keeping
up with the Fire. The score is low, but tied. With a few minutes
left, Spot, that dark-hearted mongrel, completes his evil
plan. We see him coming up the aisle with a vacuum cleaner
strapped to his back. Is he going to try and taunt us with
a sweep, even though this is only the second of three games
between the two teams? Oh no, hes more cunning than
that. He goes up to the guy with the big I love Storm
sign and vacuums off the S, R and M so that the sign reads
I love OR, as in Oregon. The fiend. And the crowd
half ends tied at 25. The halftime entertainment is a scrimmage
between kids who have attended a basketball camp. Some of
these kids are pretty good. In fact, instead of the normal
moving knot approach to pee-wee basketball that ends up looking
more like a rugby scrum, these kids are executing plays, playing
their positions, forcing turnovers and hitting shots. That
must have been a heck of a basketball camp.
second half begins and the Storm keep up the pressure, but
start to look a little flat. The Fire build a 7-point lead,
and with our bench in, things appear to be getting out of
hand. With these slow pace, low scoring games, the danger
is always that if one team breaks out and scores a bunch of
points or even if they get a small lead, like 7, it can be
very difficult for the other team to come back. We start to
feel a little nervous.
wait. Is that a bird, a plane
no, its Jamie Redd
to the rescue. Jamie starts driving to the basket and either
getting scores or getting fouls. 3M, Stacey and Charmin bring
their energy and all that nasty nervousness starts to melt
away. Steals, blocked shots, and GASP rebounds keep the Storm
in the game and the Fire from pulling away. Its with
about 5 or 6 minutes left that Lauren gets the fabled double
double. The Storm take the lead and dont relinquish
is not to say that it was an easy win. Jackie Stiles has a
way of scoring extremely fast and keeps cutting the lead back
to 5 or 4 points. Super Redd answers every time though by
getting fouls and hitting her free throws. Jamie ends up with
18 points, most of them in the second half. Conventional wisdom
be damned. Against all odds, the Storm beat the Fire.
3 Storm fans.
like to think that we helped the team with our embolism-inducing,
vocal cord-tearing screaming and cheering, and they give us
waves as they exit the floor. Coach Dunn blows us a kiss.
Even Spot gives us a good-sportsman salute when he leaves.
Its all in fun, but hes still evil.
a lot of noise with just a few people if theres
one lesson learned tonight, its that we can roar when
we want to. A suggestion to the Storm low attendance
or not, the Key can rock if we choose to get it going. With
just a couple megaphones, a few pompoms and some cooperation
during cheers, our group produced some serious volume. Maybe
the Storm could give out or even sell the 9 tall plastic
megaphones, or hand out the blow-up clappers that the Fire
fans were given. Lets make up for mediocre attendance
with some big time noise.
start cheering Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi
after Laurens made free throws. It seems to catch her
off guard because the first time we do it, she gives us a
funny look. Coach Dunn looks back at the bench shaking her
head with a big smile on her face. First, for all of the Australians
in the Storm fan universe, is there a proper way to do that
cheer? The last time we tried to do something for one of our
international players, Angie and I ended up making a sign
in Czech that said, Kamila, you are self, which
led Kamila to think we were crazy (we were trying for Kamila,
you are #1 thats what you get for using
an internet translator). Before we completely mangle your
national cheer, a little advice on how to do it thanks.
Second, once we get it right, we HAVE to start doing this
at the Key.
Holdsclaw is sitting in the front row during the game. We
can only hope that the Mystics put the same brand of hurt
on the Fire as they did on us.
are several other Storm fans in the stands. We know they are
real, unlike the evil Spots henchman, because they are
wearing Storm gear and are just as happy with the outcome
as we are.
we need to come up with something good to return the favor
to Spot when the Fire play up in Seattle on July 20th. Not
only was our mascot maligned, but that mutt played us good
with that sign. We won the game, but a more complete response
is called for.