score: Storm 67 Sting 70 (L) (10-6)
from the east coast. I made my annual 90 mile trip to
see my Storm play the Sting last night and i thought I would
share my take on the game.
First of all I thought the Storm played a pretty good game.
The offense was up to par and I didn't think the defense
was really that bad either. I have to give my props
to the Sting. They made the plays when they had to. J.
Evans article in the Times was a little rough on LJ. On the
airball she mentioned with three minutes to go she failed
to point out LJ was solidly whacked on the forearm as she
released the shot. At least hat is what I saw from my
2nd row seat. I thought LJ played a heck of a game,
just how high do we set the bar for her? Sue totally
outplayed Dawn Staley and some of the criticism she has been
getting is totally unjustified. With 38 seconds to go,
and down by two she had a clear path to the basket and Sutton-Brown
literally came out of nowhere to make a great defensive play.
The next trip down LJ and Kamila both were totally mugged
under the basket. The officials completely swollowed
their whistles the final three minutes when the Storm had
the ball. However, I felt the turning point of the game
was about the middle of the second half when the Sting made
their run, the Storm went into what I like to call their "Easter
Island Offense." This is when the point guard dribbles
around aimlessly and the other four players stand totally
still like statues buried up to their waist in sand. This
usually results in a turnover or a forced shot. Tully
throwing up a bailout with the shot clock expiring is not
my idea of a good play. Anyway, they did snap out of
it after a few minutes and came back to tie. Sure, this
one we should have won, but given the balance of the league
with the exception of SASS anyone can win on any given night.
So far the Storm have lost two games by having an opposing
player play the game of their life. By the end of the
season, I'm confident the ball will start bouncing our way.
I thought Burse and Sam had sub par games and that clearly
made a difference. Anyhow, I hope what I saw was a finals
preview, so I can see the Storm again before next year. I'm
not discouraged, I see the goal is to reach the playoffs and
not worry about LA for now, because I think we can beat them
when the games really count.
Betty did not have a stellar defensive game she did get called
for a couple of ticky-tack fouls that hurt. One being
on a three by Feaster if I recall correctly. If there
was contact it was minimal, at least in the context of how
the came was being called otherwise. Adia made a great
steal and was fouled on a breakaway but bricked the free throw,
a real momentum killer. On one Storm TO Sue dove head
first into the bench after the ball, even though she was not
successful with the save, the crowd appreciated the heart.
Any talk of Sue panicking is nonsense. Other teamates
standing around contribute significantly to her TO total,
along with the non-calls on fouls. Note to LJ, Kamila, Betty
and Sheri, I may be wrong but it seems when Sue misses
a J it is usually short off the front of the rim. Take
a page from Dennis Rodman's book, (figuratively) study your
teammates misses, and ANTICIPATE the rebound. Garbage baskets
off of offensive rebounds can make the difference in close
games. I know this is easier said than done. Adia Barnes
played a lot better than I expected. She looks slow
and not very athletic but she had a great nose for the ball
last night and played good position defense and had decent
foot speed despite that brace. Michelle was in street
clothes. She was wearing open heel shoes you could see her
ankle was heavily taped and she was favoring it. Regardless
of AD remarks, the Storm did not appear fatigued to me. The
breaks just didn't fall their way at the end. Tynesia Lewis
played the game of her life, and I'll bet she does not come
anywhere close to duplicating her effort the rest of the season.
the game, while me and Evil Doug were waiting to be in a Sting
promo shoot thing, we saw Sue run off the court and sign some
autographs. Very cool. I didn't see any ebay whores
around, though. Just kids.
The anthem was pretty good. The guy drug out the notes
a bit too long, but otherwise he did fine. The only
other thing from that part is that there were Boy Scouts doing
the flags, and I don't think the flags on the sides were dipped
low enough during the anthem. They were a little, but
the American flag is supposed to be the main thing amongst
Anyway, during the pregame, the announcer said that there
was a "Storm watch until 9pm" or something like
that. Funny that the last big run ended right after
9pm, but I'll get to that later. The announcer in Charlotte
butchered Kamila's last name (who doesn't the first time?),
but got it right for the rest of the game. Not to mention
that he had a problem either locating Betty's name or remembering
it, because there was a loooong pause after "number 22."
To the game. LJ scored our first two points. Not
long after, Betty caught fire with a couple threes and
a sweet wraparound layup.
It wasn't long until it was discovered that the refs were
pretty crappy. But to their credit (if you can call
it that) they were bad on both sides.
Ladies and gentlemen, Dawn Staley can flop. She did
it beautifully on a Kamila drive to the basket and got the
charge call. Later, Kamila walked across the lane and
that wasn't called. Not long later in the first half,
Sue and Mezzante were jumping for a loose ball, and they said
that Sue knocked it out. Bull. Sue has no ups,
remember (not knocking her, she said that herself). Betty
got run over and they called a block, but then they got it
right, when Lewis (#20 Charlotte) ran through Sue and got
called for a charge. Wow. They got something right!
At one point in the half, Tully said something to a ref, I
don't think it was about the calls, but apparently she thought
it was funny because she was laughing about it when she walked
Oh, by the way, Adia's brace is HUGE. I just took people's
word for it before, but there's nothing like seeing it in
real life. Wowie. When does she get to shed that
Late in the first, the Storm played some sloppy basketball.
They'd led up to about 5 minutes to go in the half,
but lost it at that point, and were down 46-44 at the half.
Second half, LJ finally hit 11 points, so that was a
worry over with. Kamila got called for a ghost foul,
and at the next media timeout, Anne was blessing out the ref
(their numbers were 42, 51, and 53). It was fun to watch,
that's for sure!
Not long later, Betty blocked a three and the foul was called.
The ball was a foot off the player's hands and the foul
was still called. Worst call of the night right there.
Then, all of a sudden, the Storm couldn't score with a pencil.
I don't know how long it was, but LJ hit a free throw
and that was it for three or four minutes unless I missed
something. It was bad, and the Sting had their biggest
lead at that point.
Adia broke the drought with a nice little baseling jumper.
It was very cool to see her get in the scoring there.
Later on, she stole the ball and was about to break
out when she got fouled from behind. It was at a break,
so we just thought it was a normal foul. But after the
timeout, Adia goes to the line by herself. I guess it
was a flagrant or a technical or something.
At one point in the second half, the Sting had a two-on-one
against Sue. She played as good defense as she could,
and the Sting missed the shot badly. It was more the
off shot than Sue, but she played it as well as she could've.
Then, suddenly, we're back in it, tied at 60 with 3:53 to
go. Sue's got either 11 or 14 by this time, and we're
wondering when that happened. At that point someone
(and I think it was Sue) left Feaster wide open for a three.
Bottom. Not long after, Betty fouled Lewis, who
hit the shot and then the FT to put the Sting up 66-60.
I thought it was over at this point, but the Storm came flying
back, led by an LJ three. But on the last possession,
Sue gave it to Betty (who'd just come in for Adia) and Betty
never got the shot off. Final score, Sting 70, Storm
At the end, I saw Betty holding her nose. I think she
got hit again. I listened to Anne being interviewed
(I love press passes!), and she said that Betty was Ok. Then
she retracted that and said something about her still not
being Ok, but that last hit didn't hurt her any worse.
As you all know, Feaster was the interviewed individual on
KJR, and the Sting's crew interviewed Lewis. Sorry about
the lack of first names on Sting players--I just don't know
that many of them.
As for the players, Sue impressed me a lot, but she could've
played better. There were times when it was obvious
that she was going to shoot the ball and no one else was going
to get it. She played reasonable defense most of the
time, but got burned at least three times, maybe four. Mezzante,
for one, ate Sue's lunch at least once, if not twice. Sue
could've played better than she did.
The Sting were running a lot of picks and stuff, which was
part of the reason Sue was getting beat so much. Their
offense was clicking big time.
Betty played well, but after her first 8, she started getting
rather erratic with the ball. It was a bit frustrating.
I hope her nose is Ok.
LJ had her usual 25 points or so. She had a good night.
Not much more could be done by her.
Adia played well, too. She scored less than last year
here in Charlotte, but she played darn good defense.
I didn't notice a lot from the bench, and that's probably
what got us beat. Although, I think Sue is a big factor
in losing the game, too.
The fans were nice and loud. There weren't many of them,
but they were very loud. The Sting have great fans.
They played musical chairs during one of the first half timeouts.
Some guy kept a little boy from getting a spot with
three chairs left, and then shoved the B.B. Sting (the mascot)
out of another. Then, with one chair and that guy and
a little girl left, B.B came up and tackled the guy right
as the music ended. Very funny.
The other events that I remember was the Kiss Cam, where the
cameras were trained on a couple people and they had to kiss.
The funny part here was that the last shot was of the
two male refs. That was good. They did a loudest
section contest and threw stuff to the fans and did a rendition
of YMCA as well. The fans had a lot of fun at the game,
and they liked the outcome, unfortunately.
Well. it's a bummer that the Storm lost, but hopefully they'll
get the Shock in Detroit tomorrow night. The Charlotte
game was a really good one, and I'm glad I got to be there