score: Storm 69 Mystics 72 (L) (10-5)
“Huh?” ticket pricing
| $30 for upper bowl (center court, but still! with
rows and rows of empty seats in the lower bowl so I sneaked
welcome sight | The
return of Simone’s braids.
Magic Johnson moment
| Alana Beard’s mid-air, behind-the-back pass.
“… and this is why we love Tully” moment
| Her steal a mere 11 seconds after entering the game.
“I want Adia to be my friend” moment
| Her comforting pat to Betty’s shoulder after
Betty left the game in the second half.
dejected trudge to the locker room
| The Storm. (It was so sad!)
goofy call | Don’t
even get me started.
not usually one to jump all over the refs (and the refereeing
certainly wasn’t the decisive factor in the outcome
last night) but there were some WEIRD calls. It makes me wonder
if the home office has handed down some edict about the type
of play they want to see (more physical inside?) and the refs
are still figuring out how to call the game to encourage that
type of play. So, sometimes they’d let a monster WWF
snarl develop in the key, bodies flying, crash bang boom,
and other times, they’d call really marginal let-‘em-play
contact fouls. I couldn’t figure out the guiding principle.
Also, I must say, I couldn’t believe they called Bird
for a breakaway foul in the second half when Coco Miller grabbed
Tully by the arm after Tully picked her clean in the first
half. Take a look at the photo in the Seattle Times. Here’s
what happened the second after that shot was taken: Miller
pulled her arm back and Tully went swinging in a huge circle
(without the ball.)
read Bird’s comments and Jayda Evan’s analysis
this morning about lack of hustle, and I respectfully disagree.
From my perspective, the difference was the Mystics defense,
particularly in the first half. They made LJ suffer for every
shot she took. In fact, she was under so much pressure, I
was amazed to look up and realize she’d managed to put
up 20 points before the half. (20 the hard way.) The Mystics
were playing a zone, but it wasn’t your granny’s
high school zone. It was fluid and mean. If the ball came
inside, they collapsed in. (I saw LJ muscle up more than one
shot penned in by four white bodies.) But, somehow, the Mystics
were quick enough to jump out, almost man-to-man, on players
on the perimeter, so the outside never became an option. We
couldn’t hit from outside in the first half, true, but
we weren’t getting many looks either, and it didn’t
look to me like lack of hustle. It looked like, “This
defense is wearing us out.” (Note: After the game, we
chatted with a Mystics fan on the Metro who said, “Lauren
Jackson is like Shaquille O’Neal. She’s so good
they have to foul her, but if they called all the fouls, the
game would never go anywhere.” Um… and that makes
Mystics came out for the second half primed and ready to go.
They had that “we can’t miss” confidence.
was hard to watch the Storm lose, but you know, I have to
say I was happy for the Mystics fans. Towards the very end,
when the Mystics had an opportunity to shoot a free throw
and make it a three point game, a fellow behind me said, “Come
on, come on, baby, this is for the season!” For a team
at the bottom of the standings, I think the game felt that
important to them. (Kind of like when we used to be the underdogs
who tried to beat LA!)
I have to say: The Mystics fans were nice. I couldn’t
begrudge them the win. They’d earned it, and, if it
hadn’t been for the kindness of Mystics fans (and Washingtonians
in general), we would’ve missed the tip-off. My dad
and I proudly ventured forth from Virginia in our Stormfans
t-shirts, and we think the t-shirts were sort of like our
free pass to friendliness. I guess we must’ve looked
looked like harmless out-of-town rubes. ; ) First of all,
we asked a guy in a gas station if he could tell us the best
way to get to the MCI Center to avoid rush hour. He said,
“I don’t know, but I can find out for you.”
And then he called his mom! And his Mom provided excellent
directions to the metro station. (Bless you!) And then, as
we stood in the Metro station, befuddled by the flood of rush
hour people and the mysterious ticket dispenser machines (which
kept spitting out our $20 dollar bills), a Mystics fan approached
us and said, “Hey, here you go, let me give you a ten
and some ones for that twenty.” Then, another group
of fans helped us transfer trains and get to the box office.
Thus, thanks to the kindness of strangers, we scooted into
our seats within seconds of tip-off! And then, after the game,
four different people said, “Hey, good game!”
great to see Bird back at 100%. Sheri Sam is calm, steady,
AWESOME. Burse grabbed some key rebounds. Barnes made another
strong case for the “Utility Player of the Year”
award. (Although I wished she’d made those free throws!)
more observation: Before Lennox left the game, Bird chewed
her out up and down the court. I couldn’t tell what
went wrong exactly, but I’ve never seen Bird yell at
another player quite like that. She was yelling and pointing
in frustration on the offensive end, and then, back on the
defensive end, after the next play, she yelled some more.
Lennox didn’t respond, but at that point, she left the
game. Nobody talked to her on the bench; they just left her
alone and got into the huddle without her. (Then, later, after
she’d covered her head with a towel, Adia patted her
back.) Something went down, but I don’t know what. Betty
looked active in the first half – grabbed a bunch of
rebounds in traffic – but her shot was off. It could
be that her desire to play got her out on the court before
she was really ready. (I saw her fiddling with her mask while
the ball was in play.) And then, it could be that Bird’s
frustration just got the better of her. She usually keeps
a cool head but she was so mad about the breakaway foul in
the second half, she could hardly stand it. I thought she
was going to get a technical. Donovan finally said from the
bench, “LET IT GO.” Even then, Bird was still
shaking her head and looking pissed off.
it’s no fun to lose… especially when you’ve
redeveloped a taste for winning.
on to Charlotte!