score: Storm 64 Sun 68 (L) (0-1)
Finals Game 1
Watch | David Cassidy — yes, the Partridge
Family guy. His performance was part lounge singer part love
song. I said to our group afterwards, "It's okay to love
your country, but not "love" your country."
A little too much sex appeal there Dave. It wasn't the "Thong
Song," it was the Anthem.
Psyche | Them — "How nice that
we're winning a game." Us — "So this is what
Sacramento felt the other night."
Highlight | Ugh. The Sun only shot 50% from
the free throw line. I don't know how much of that was us
yelling "Brick!" but at least 2 or 3 were. That's
about it for highlights.
| Ronnie Spector singing some of her hits
from last century. No one paid much attention to her.
| The teams traded flops early in the game.
Other than that, most of the offensive fouls from our vantage
point looked legit — you could tell because the
players were actually getting rocked but not falling, which
meant they weren't acting (or they're getting better at it).
Keyword of the Game | Crap!
Photos | Game
Photos (Larry Morgenweck)
not the same team that steamrolled the Monarchs in the WCF
Game 3. Actually, the Storm's performance was reminiscent
of one of the games from the Conference Finals, except that
they seemed to be emulating the Monarchs instead of playing
differences between their domination over Sac in the second
half of Game 3 and this lackluster performance were painfully
striking. Poor ball movement, a lot of standing around on
offense while the point guard dribbled the ball around, bobbled
passes, telegraphed passes into the post so that the Sun defenders
were able to get a hand in and tip the ball away, and missed
cues on defense that allowed the Sun to get away with passes
under the basket and easy layups.
Storm looked a step or two slower than the Sun, plain and
most glaring example of this came towards the end of the game
as the Storm were clawing their way back into the game and
were down by 5. I think there was 3 minutes or so on the clock.
The game was suddenly within reach and the Storm's defense
had momentarily stymied the Sun and forced a turnover. With
Sue flying down the court ahead of everybody, Betty had the
ball and either didn't see Sue or wasn't thinking fast break,
even though Sue was completely open and had a clear path to
the basket. By the time Betty recognized the opportunity and
passed the ball to Sue, the Sun defenders had caught up to
Sue and she couldn't take the shot. The Storm ended up losing
the ball without scoring. I think the Sun came out of it shooting
fouls. Instead of an easy score and being down by only 3 with
2:30 left, the Storm were down by 6. If the Storm had made
that basket, I think they would have won the game. I'm not
blaming the loss on Betty or Sue because that one play was
indicative of the whole game, but that one play might have
helped erase the Storm's sluggish play and given them a better
chance at catching the Sun.
really think that part of it is due to the format for the
WNBA playoffs. The team with home court actually has to do
more traveling than the team without. During this series,
the Storm will have made 2 cross country 8+ hour flights while
the Sun only have to make 1 (their trip home doesn't count
since the series will be over by then). It would more fair,
and actually give the better team the advantage if it went
1-1-1, in this case Storm, Conn, Storm. There would be potentially
more travel for Connecticut, but then they are the ones without
home court advantage. Next year, the Finals will be best of
5, so it will probably follow the NBA model and go 2-2-1 and
award the better team a real home court advantage. Doesn't
help us now very much.
also think that despite Sue's comments about the Conference
Finals not meaning a whole lot the Storm did have an emotional
and mental let down from the exuberant high they had to be
feeling after beating the Monarchs on Tuesday. The Sun have
been resting since last Sunday, and they didn't have to travel.
The Storm's emotional and mental state combined with their
travel schedule resulted in a very tired looking team.
first half was fairly even. Neither team had a huge lead,
but the Sun were definitely scoring with more ease than the
Storm. Lauren was getting double and triple teamed constantly,
which is to be expected, but the other Storm players were
not hitting their shots. The Storm guards were also telegraphing
their passes to her and were allowing the Sun defenders to
steal the ball. The other painful missed opportunities for
Lauren came when she found herself being guarded by Sales
or one of the other Sun small forwards. Sue, Betty and Tully
would be dribbling the ball out at the three-point line with
a clear view of LJ with Sales on her back and not get the
ball to Lauren. They always swung it back around to the other
side and allowed the Sun posts to switch off and go back to
at the game stats, I was shocked to see that the Storm outrebounded
the Sun, had nearly even turnovers and hit one more three
pointer than the Sun. The Storm also were almost even on made
free throws. I was sure before looking at the stats that the
Storm had been killed on the boards and had committed half
again as many turnovers. Watching the game live, it really
felt like the Sun straight up outplayed the Storm. The Storm
had 20 offensive rebounds! How often does that happen and
they still lose the game? I'm not much of a stat head, so
I may be missing something but I don't see a "killer"
stat that points to how the Storm lost. I have to come back
to the energy factor — the Sun had it and the Storm
can view this game a couple ways. The cynical way is to say
that the Sun are a much better team than the Monarchs and
the Storm aren't going to be able to rely on the same things
to get the job done this time. The Sun are supposed to be
underpowered compared to the Storm, but they are making up
for that in grit and determination. At this point, the Storm
need to completely regroup and start playing like they want
to win. The more optimistic view is that the Storm played
horribly while everything was going the Sun's way and the
Storm almost stole this game. Like the Sacramento series,
the Storm is the better team and just needs to play their
game more consistently and they will come out on top, especially
with a sold-out KeyArena at their backs.
course, I think the answer for Game 2 is a mix of the two
approaches. The Storm are going to have to regroup to a certain
extent and find ways to match and exceed the Sun's energy.
The Storm is also the better team and even if they play a
little better than they did tonight, they could win the series
— they don't even need to have a history-book type of
game like they did against the Monarchs. They just need to
play their game.
like I was after the first game loss in Sacramento, I'm not
worried about the Storm after this loss. They now know they
can't just go out there and dominate because they look better
on paper. The lesson from the Sac series was that you can't
hang around and then turn on the jets late in the second half
and hope to win. You have to turn on the jets early and keep
them burning hot throughout the game.
couple other game notes. The reffing was not nearly as bad
as it was on Tuesday night. In fact, I would say that the
Sun got the short end of the whistle more often than the Storm
did. Maybe the refs are consciously trying to not give the
home team the benefit of the doubt like they normally do and
are calling more on them as a result. If that is the case,
we may have a rough time of it in games 2 and 3.
area that the Storm do need to cover in practice before Sunday
is guarding those three-point shooters. It seemed like the
Sun were camping out there and taking set-shots with no worry
about getting a hand in the face.Like I said, the stats were
surprising because it seemed like every time the Storm made
an attempt to climb back in the game, the Sun would bury a
WNBA First and Second teams were announced before the game,
as was the MVP although that one was awarded outside of the
arena. The Sun fans gave The Diva a big cheer when she stepped
up to get her First Team award, so the league could have given
her the MVP without worrying about the crowd's reaction (unlike
what would have happened in Seattle, hee hee). The funny part
of the ceremony was that the league officials forced Sue and
LJ to put on their full warm-ups on. We realized we had never
seen LJ in the full gear and Sue was trying to put on her
pants while she was walking and got the snaps all done wrong
or something because the pants looked like they were on backwards
or something. As the players all gathered under the basket
in front of us to be introduced, LJ gave The Diva a big hug.
Leslie didn't seem to be expecting it, but LJ just threw her
arms around LL like they were old buds. I think LJ is trying
to mess with The Diva's head a little bit.
the half, there was a recognition ceremony for all the Team
USA members in attendance (since the WNBA First and Second
teams were basically the Olympic team). During the first half,
the WNBA stars all sat in the section behind the Storm bench
(the UConn women's team was sitting behind them too). Most
of them were having a good time. Yo looked like she wanted
to chew on the seat in front of her, understandably since
she was so close to being the one out on the court instead
of Seattle. After the halftime ceremony, they all disappeared.
Teasely was spotted at a card table after the game and Yo
was window shopping. No sign of the others.
have to give the Connecticut fans a high score since they
were almost all very cordial and polite. We only had one guy
yell at us to stop doing "Brick!" and even then
it seemed like he was mocking us more than being actually
angry. We also got a lot of good natured jibes that we returned
when needed. Several people thanked us for making the trip
and quite a few gave us "Good game," on the way
out. Of course, if we had won it might have been different,
but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. We also had a
few people come up and ask about the website, which was cool.
also have to give the Connecticut fans very low marks because
they were all so cordial and polite. They came up with only
one spontaneous cheer at the end of the game. They only made
noise when told to, or when Diana Taurasi was in sight. She
got the biggest cheer of the game, including when the Sun
actually won. Towards the end of the game when the Storm started
to catch up, nothing from them. Nothing from them when the
Sun were rolling. They weren't golf clapping, but they weren't
acting like they were at a Finals game or the last Sun home
game of the season. Part of that was due, I think, to the
fact that the average age of the Sun crowd had to be in the
40s. There were few kids at the game and a lot of senior citizens.
I shouldn't have been surprised that they were so subdued.
Sun have 2 mascots - Blaze, a felt and fur-based mascot, and
some guy with an orange sequined jacket and orange pants who
lead all the timeouts and such. They were constantly throwing
t-shirts out. In fact, I don't think they did any of the types
of timeout activities that we usually see. Almost all of the
timeouts were the mascots and dance team throwing t-shirts
into the crowd.
arena itself was nice. It's only 3 or 4 years old, so it was
in great shape. There were some odd things about it though
— no central scoreboard, no stat boards, only 2 exits
for the whole place which meant there was a crush of people
piling up to leave after the game. If there had been a fire,
people would have been killed in that packed exit. For those
who took the trip to Spokane, this arena felt a lot like that
one — not quite big league. That is not to say
it isn't a good arena for basketball. The slope of the lower
bowl is almost the same as the Key so you feel like you are
closer to the floor in a similar row as compared to arenas
like Staples or Arco. Still, I missed having the scoreboard
and video screens in the middle of the court. The video screens
they had were small and located above the upper bowl, so they
weren't all that visible. Also, in terms of sound since being
too loud has been an issue at the Key recently, these guys
had their PA system cranked way louder than we have at the
Key. It was painfully loud all on its own at times.
had a good contingent of Storm fans at the game - myself and
Angie, Shed, The Lurker, Samfan, Awase and mother, Tex and
mother, Alison and fiancee, UPilot and father, along with
a small horde of little girls in Sue Bird jerseys. It was
great to meet Alison and her fiancee, and to meet McHuskyfan
and her friends (who are going to be in Seattle for games
2 and 3). I missed getting to meet a couple of the other east
coast-based Storm fans — maybe next year.
Mohegan Sun complex is huge. The hotel is virtually the only
tall building we saw in either Rhode Island or Connecticut
(at least the parts of each that we saw). All of the other
buildings in the area are 3 or 4 stories max and either made
of wood or brick. Out of nowhere, you find this mirrored-glass
monster that is 20+ stories easy. It looks out of place by
a long shot. Kind of ironic that the one building that is
least suitable for the natural surroundings is the Indian
casino instead of a bank building or something similar.
inside of the casino was beautiful with all sorts of mosaics,
glass sculptures, marble and wood.They did a nice job. We
didn't actually see any Mohegan indians, but then they are
probably vacationing in Tahiti given the profit this place
must be raking in.
game started a half hour late, so we're sure we missed the
end of it on the TiVO. We also heard that the first 10 minutes
or so were preempted by the baseball playoffs — you
all missed our best "Bricks."
had 4 or 5 Liberty fans sitting behind us who loved the "Brick!"
yell. They tried to hide when we started getting looks. One
was trying to convince the Conn fans that the mint green sweater
she had on was not really green. They did say that they are
going to try and use it back home at Madison Square Garden
of us sat in one row, so there was a nice shot of green behind
the basket nearest the Storm bench. They all saw us and gave
us a wave pregame.
did a little gambling after the game (no pregame gambling
in order to save the winning mojo — maybe we should
have used some of it in hindsight). I was the only to come
out ahead - winning $19.
Sun fans love Debbie Black the same way we love Tully. Debbie
got bigger cheers as she went in or out than just about all
the other Sun players.
Connecticut fans also gave Sue a big cheer when she was introduced,
and went on to cheer really well after each one of her fouls.
For all the "I've got a dilemma about who to cheer for"
we heard from UConn/Sun fans, they chose the Sun without too
much difficulty and seemed to enjoy seeing Sue pick up fouls.
our first "Brick," a cameraman made a beeline up
to our seats and sat there filming us (mostly Shed) for what
seemed to be half the first half. I think he was hoping for
another "Brick" opportunity, but one didn't come
up. Since the first part of the game was preempted, if we
made it on TV, it probably wasn't seen by anyone. Hopefully
the NBAtv replays will get it.