score: Storm 67 Sun 65 (W) (1-1)
Finals Game 2
17,072! The Storm's first ever complete KeyArena sellout!
Watch | The 13 year old kid was back and belted
out another beautiful performance and kicked David Cassidy's
ass all over the place (re: Anthem Watch from the 10/8 at
Psyche | Betty! Nykesha? Betty! Nykesha? Betty!!!
Highlight | The Shootout at the OK KeyArena.
| A group of street drummers doing their thing
on plastic buckets.
| Debbie Black was working it hard and her
protegé Whalen was acting like a beached whale —
flopping hard and often.
Keyword of the Game | Whew!
Photos | Game Photos (Scott
As a fan of the Storm, I of course want to see them dominate
and win comfortably. As a fan of basketball, I also like to
see a good competitive game and love to see players who absolutely
refuse to lose — players who really do leave it all
out on the court and end up giving us performances for the
had a ripper tonight on all counts, that is for sure.
Lennox and Nykesha Sales were both simply spectacular and
turned the second half into a shootout that wasn't decided
until the last seconds. As I said to the PI reporter during
the game, if you can't enjoy this kind of skill, talent and
gutsy play you can't call yourself a basketball fan.
that Sales was on fire diminishes the idea of being hot. She
was a walking supernova in the second half. The Sun scored
35 in the last 20 minutes and 21 of that came from Nykesha.
It didn't matter from what angle, whether she was squared
up to the basket or who was guarding her. Everything she threw
into the air came swishing through the basket. Sheri Sam,
who shared the defensive assignment on Sales with Chelle and
Adia, will most probably be having Nykesha-based nightmares
for awhile. The one shot that Sheri is sure to relive for
a long time to come is the one miss that Nykesha had —
her biggest shot of the night. With the clock at 3.1 seconds,
the Sun inbounded the ball and found a wide open Sales in
the opposite corner and behind the 3-point line. How Sheri
or one of the other Storm players let the hottest of hands
slip free like that will certainly be a topic of discussion
between the coaches and the team during practice Monday. Amazingly,
she got the ball in perfect scoring position and let it fly
like she had every time during the second half. I don't know
if the weight of what that shot meant got to her a little
or if she just rushed it to beat the clock, but it went off
the side of the backboard and bounced away from the rim. Storm
win and we get game 3.
Sales wasn't the only superstar on the court last night, and
I don't mean LJ or Sue.
God. For. Betty. Lennox.
matched Sales big basket for big basket and was just as unconscious
through the second half. Betty has evolved before our eyes
this season. In the first few games, she would drive toward
the basket with her head down and shoulder out. Sometimes
she made it, sometimes she got called for offensive fouls.
She has since changed her attack and instead of muscling her
way through the defense, she steps, pops and shoots over them.
Again, it didn't matter where she was on the court, on balance
or falling back or who was guarding her. She started hitting
and kept hitting. The Storm scored 32 in the second half and
Betty counted for 16 of that. The Storm coaches and management
have been talking for years about getting a third scoring
option to compliment our 2 All-Stars. They keep saying that
a third scorer is the key to winning a championship. Well,
we're here in the Finals and Betty is fulfilling the promise
of that third scorer. If she has half the game she had tonight
and the Storm win on Tuesday, she should win the Finals MVP
hands down. I don't think LJ would bat an eye should that
come to pass.
scored a double double, but it was primarily in the first
half. She was everywhere early on and was torching the Sun
on the boards and going at them strong on offense. We knew
she was going to be a monster well before the game started.
She had her game intensity face all the way through the shoot
around and even during the pregame stretching the Storm does.
You know she means business when she's staring down the trainer
during the warmups. She also came out with the secret hair
weapon — pony tail first half and braid second half.
She put it to good use early on and fought through the physical
double and triple teams the Sun were throwing at her.
has plenty of rivalries for any player, but I think she will
be adding Wendy Palmer to her short list. Palmer has been
physically abusing LJ in such a way that you would expect
her to be nearly fouling out each game. Not so. She only had
one foul called on her tonight. Because the refs have been
allowing so much in the fight for position in the post and
with the free for alls when someone gets an offensive rebound
and tries to go back up with it, LJ and Kamila have been getting
beaten up. I think over the back calls have gone the way of
traveling (especially on Whalen, the girl could only take
more steps if she was hiking cross-country) during the Finals.
Allowing the players to play is one thing, allowing players
to pummel each other should be stopped regardless of the game
of the refs, boy did they miss a couple big ones tonight.
They called a jump ball when Sheri had corralled a loose ball
in the corner right in front of the Sun bench even though
she was obviously call for a timeout. On the scramble for
the ball after that jump, LJ got the ball again in the corner
and was hammered by a Sun player as she tried to pass it out.
No call even though the refs should have been looking for
the Sun to foul in order to stop the clock. Katie Douglas
stole the ball and called timeout as she was falling out of
bounds. That is completely against the WNBA rules. That is
an NCAA rule, not a WNBA rule. Sally freakin' Bell said that
Douglas' foot was in bounds when she called timeout. BS. The
reason she only had one foot inbounds was because she was
falling out of bounds. It should have been Storm ball. Instead,
the Sun get to advance the ball to the other end of the court
and set up for a final shot. The refs almost handed the game
to the Sun plain and simple.
didn't end that way, so we're on to Game 3.
would be remiss if I didn't highlight the other Storm heroes
from this game. Chelle Thompson has been a ringer for the
Storm. Coach Donovan rarely played her during the regular
season and then has her as one of the primary go-to bench
players during the playoffs. I wonder if Coach D didn't keep
Chelle tucked away on purpose just so that she would have
an ace in the hole who was a defensive demon and amazingly
pure shooter. Chelle's shot is so pretty. I don't know what
her overall percentage is this season, but it's got to be
more than 50%. If there was a stat for shooting percentage
on big baskets, she would be near 100%. Chelle was ice in
her veins and fire in her heart. She is the consummate team
player — cheering on the team when she's on the bench
and bringing energy and intensity when she's on the court.
is hurting I think. She always has a heating pad on her hip,
but she's good for shorter and shorter stretches each game
it seems. She gets in there and fights like she's 100%, but
she seems to have a hard time keeping it up. She had another
one of those "get that crap out of here" blocks
tonight that had the crowd going nuts. Whalen stole the ball
and took off on a fast break. Janell caught her from behind
(sore hip?) and slapped that ball into the 3rd row. We all
were checking the court for Whalen's shoes, but with gunboats
like those they don't come off too easy. Janell also had a
fastbreak of her own. She stole the ball and ran the court
— grimacing all the way — only to miss the layup
with LJ getting the rebound. You have to admire this woman's
guts and determination.
and Sheri were quiet offensively and instead were expending
all their energy on defense. Kamila, Janell and LJ made huge
adjustments from Game 1 and completely shut down the Sun posts.
Palmer, McWilliams-Franklin and Jones were held to 3 points
collectively. Throw in the rookie Willingham who came in for
Jones after Asjha suffered an injury to her hand (I didn't
see how it happened) and the 4 Sun posts still only scored
8 points. I'm sure all the press will be focused on Nykesha
and Betty, but this was perhaps the story of the game. The
Sun posts also kept up their bruising pressure on the Storm,
but the Storm won the battle under the basket this game.
defensive story that might get overlooked is the job Sue and
Betty did on Whalen. True, she scored 9 points and got 7 assists,
but the switching defense the Storm employed against Whalen
kept her frustrated and out of the flow much of the game.
It was surprising to see her teammates (Taj especially) yelling
at her in the second half because she was out of position
or not coming to get the ball.
I can say is that if the Storm can replicate their defensive
scheme for Game 3 — shut down the Sun posts and frustrate
Whalen — and then just do a little better job on Sales
or Douglas (whichever one gets hot), they will give themselves
as good a chance to win the game as they can. We saw the Sun's
best punches tonight and the Storm found ways to take them,
roll and punch right back. Game 3 will be intense, physically
punishing and may be up for grabs. The Storm know what they
need to do and have the Championship within their grasp. Now
they just need to take it.
was none of the pregame nonsense tonight to delay the start
and get the players out of their routines. Announcing awards
is all nice and everything, but not if it screws up the beginning
of the game.
sellout was fantastic, but I was a little disappointed in
the crowd noise. It was loud, but not nearly as loud as I
was hoping. I'm a hard one to please, true, but I would bet
that the 104 decibels we saw in Game 3 against the Monarchs
is still the loudest we've gotten and that was with half the
fans. I want my ears to hurt. I want to have to cover my ears
to keep the blood from pouring out. I want the opposing team
to look up with a "Damn that is loud" look on their
faces. I will not be satisfied with less.
new graphics on the big screen were nice, but I think they
helped keep the fans from reaching their full volume. The
rulers of the ArenaVision made two new chant videos tonight
— Bring It Home and a new De Fense. Both were waaaaaay
too slow. The fans wanted to go one speed — the same
speed that all the other chants go — but the new screens
were about 2/3rds as fast as the existing ones. It meant that
half the crowd was following the screen and the other half
was doing the normal thing. My advise? Fix the speed or lose
the screens. We can't have any confusion or mangled chants.
the pregame fan shoot for Team Shop gift certificates, both
the Bringys and Owl took shots. I may have committed the ultimate
Stormfan betrayal by "Brick!ing" Owl. It was an
impulse. I was overcome with the power of the "Brick!"
The megaphone was suddenly in my hand and I was screaming
at one of our own. I couldn't help it. Sorry Owl (of course
I was giggling the whole time).
kept my word and came to the game dressed as a Fairy Godmother.
Stormrocks anointed me as an official member of the FG sisterhood
and bestowed upon me the Magic Wand of Eternal Mojo. I tried
to fulfill my duties by sharing the Mojo with the team every
chance I got. Not only did I get some funny looks from the
Storm players, I also got some attention from the media. A
couple of photographers came up for my name for captions after
they took my picture. A PI reporter came up during the first
half and asked me some questions about the outfit and about
the sellout crowd. If any of the photos make it into the newspapers,
let me know because I think I know what the final Caption
This will be.
two new Connecticut pals, Judy and Rosie, had a good time
watching Nykesha go off. They luckily made hotel reservations
through Wednesday — so they could do more sight seeing
so they claim. After the game we were talking to them and
I said something about being disappointed in the crowd noise.
Judy game me a "Whaaaaa?" look. Like I said, I'm
hard to please.
of the original Storm teams were on hand tonight and got a
big round of applause. Coach Dunn, Coach Graf, Katy Steding,
Edna Campbell, Jamie Redd, Charmin Smith and Kate Paye were
all sitting a few rows up behind the Storm basket. I know
they all wanted to be down there and playing (especially Edna),
but I hope instead of feeling left out they understood their
role in setting the foundation for what the Storm is doing
right now. They are part of this Championship run, regardless
of whether they are on the court or not.
an odd one — the ushers and security roped off the court
at the end of the game so the fans wouldn't rush the court.
They didn't do that in Connecticut and why would we rush the
court after Game 2. Game 3 they better put up metal barricades,
but they didn't need any rope for Game 2.
last note — the line for Game 3 tickets outside the
West entrance was a sight to behold. Makes me verrry happy
that we have season tickets. That's a hint for you newbies
out there — you get season tickets and you don't have
to stand in line hoping for good seats like that.