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6/24/07 at Los Angeles

Final score: Storm 83 – Sparks 71 (W) (6-6)

Submitted by NewSocks

There is a ton of construction going up across the street from the Staples Center. You walk from the pay parking lots up the street and are coming down a sidewalk only to find the sidewalk ends without warning and you are now in a car lane on Figerora. Pretty intense.

We went into the Fox Sports Grill pre game. I dont know why we go in here. The food sucks and it so expensive. Actually I do know why we go in. Tradition. Don't want to change the pregame routine. Plus, it is where I meet up with "Lucky" She took a real long time to come in this time and I was really worried that something happened. Dirty reminded me that one of these times we are going to come down here and she is not going to come in. Anyway, I went over and said hello. She was happy to see me as she always seems to be, but mad at herself because she had got me a gift and forgot it on her table. I was touched that she even thought about me to get me something. We talked about the teams as we always do and made plans to meet up again the next game.

We got inside the arena and went to find our seats. I had brought bribes to give to any seat holders that would be sitting in the area that I wanted to stand at to try to talk to the team. Lo and behold, I didn't need to. Those were my seats!! It's complicated, dont ask. But they were mine.

Lauren came out of the tunnel first. It wasn't too hard to talk to her then but there was a bunch of little kids with her stuff to sign and she walked over to them. As she was walking by though, I said, "You know you're due for a 30 point game right?" She just laughed. I said, "I'm serious. Every 3rd game this season you go off for 30." She just kind of purserd her lips together like "hmmmmm" and smiled. As she got done siging and started heading to the court, I shouted out, "30 points, LJ" and she raised her hand in a waive. (More to follow)

Then Sue came out. I asked her how things were going, if "you guys are ok?" She said, "were good. were better." I told here there were 7000 fans in Seattle that were behind the team, no matter what and she said thats what they were counting on.

Then Katie G came out. She seemed so quiet. I told her she had one of the most awesome shots I had ever seen and that I had been watching it since her freshman year at Purdue. She said, "Really?" as if she was suprised. I asked if she remembered her freshman year when she didnt start, and when things didnt always go the way she wanted them to when her shots wouldnt always fall and she would sometimes get lost on defense. She just smiled and said, "yeah." I said you can look at this season as your freshman year all over again and look ahead at how your next three years went. Rome wasn't built in a day but they never stop building. Enjoy this season, Katie. Keep shooting. Be a Roman. She laughed and slapped my hand and said, gotcha!

Betty came out and usually Betty goes walking right by and says, "Ill catch you on the way back." This time however, she stopped. I had a shirt for her to sign but held my hand out and told her that no one has stopped believing in her or what she can do. We know her game is still there and she has to find a way to make the game fun again. If it isnt fun, it isnt worth it. She said, "I appreciate you, and all the fans who have supported me while I try to get through this. You guys just never stop believing and that motivates us more than you know, so thank you." I thought I was going to cry. Seriously.

I was trying to keep Dirty informed as to what was being said when JB came out of the tunnel and yelled up, "Hey" to me. I turned around and she started laughing. I reminded her she always does some damage at the games I'm at so tonight was her night. I told her to watch out for Christi Thomas and the chicken wing, and that Sydney Spencer slaps at the ball alot. She said, "been scouting for me?" I said, "I do what I can." I told her to have FUN and she said she would.

There was a big lull before any other players came out, and then Karen Bryant came out and I was able to talk to her for about 10 minutes.

I talked to Jayda after I talked to Karen. I asked Jayda how things were going after her article and she said they were ok. A little strained with the coaches, but ok.

The rest of the team came out in slow spurts to go warm up and I just kept conveying the message of having FUN and that we still were behind them, no matter.

Both teams were on the court warming up and I noticed Taj was not out there for the Sparks. A couple mins later, I looked up and saw her in the tunnel in a t-shirt and dark blue sweats...street clothes. I asked her, "Taj are you playing today?" She smiled and nodded. I asked her if someone hid her uniform and she started cracking up and said, noooooo. Laundry day?? She was busting up and again said nooooo.. She said "Im waiting for a important meeting." Just then I saw her waive and looked to see who she was waiving at and her younger daughter came running up and into her arms. Very touching.

Dirty noticed the music in the arena is way different this year. Last season it was hard core hip hop and this year it was more main-stream. Dirty appreciated that, and I appreciated it wasnt as loud.

So LJ came back from warm ups and I remembered finally, that I had a visor I really wanted her to sign. She signed some other stuff for other people on the other rail and then came over to me. "Thirty, huh?" Every three games, I said. But no pressure. She just laughed. She started walking away and I asked her, Lauren are you having fun? I mean seriously, is this all still fun. She said...yeah...but I felt it was kind of a yeah, butt. I had one chance, so I went off. I said, "You remember when you were a kid and you were playing against someone and you were shooting like you were unconscious and no matter what you threw up it went in (mind you she is still walking but now she has turned around and is walking backwards listening to me) and every shot you took you would crack up because it was unbelieveable that you couldnt miss and IT WAS FUN or now in the bigs where you get going like that and everything you throw up is going to go in and you dont know why or how but it all goes in and you LAUGH while you are out there because IT IS FUN or how you have someone who dares bring the ball into the paint on you and you block the ball so hard that they have the logo branded into their hand and the block is so huge YOU HAVE TO LAUGH ...WHY?? BECAUSE ITS FUN LAUREN. Figure out a way to make it fun. She stopped and did the two finger point and said, "got it."

I sat down exhausted and Dirty asked me "what the hell did you just say?" I told him I have no idea, lol.

Sue came back by and I had her sign a shirt. I told her about LJ's thirty points and she could use that today to her advantage to pad her assists. She laughed and said 30 huh, are you sure? I said every 3 games and tonight is her night. I showed her my Sue Bird bobblehead pin and asked her if she saw these yet, "unfortunately, yes," with a laugh and a head shake. I said, what? It looks great. She gave me the shut up look and smile.

After the players came back out of the tunnel officially for the start of the game, I sat down. Well then I rememberd about the coaches. Coach D saw me right away and waived and said hey there. (At least it isnt the Oh, Jesus we got when she saw Bringy with me that one time, LOL ) I conveyed a positive message to the coaches also.

Got a visit from Sic-ko who was sitting in the Sparks zone...ahem....She looked wonderful as ever. Gave a promise that she would try to get to Seattle this season. There was quite a few other Storm groups there also. We saw the nazi usher get missamo for his camera.

Game started and since you all watched the game I wont go into that too much.

Some other observations though:

The Sparks have a new mascot, Sparky. He is a dog, and he is pretty cute. He came over and gave us some crap and tried to touch Dirty's Monkey. If you know anything about anything, you know all about Dirty and the Monkey. It could have been ugly.

The Sparks also have a theme song now that the fans are encouraged to sing along with. It is to the song, Shout but instead of says Shout, you say Sparks! Um..yeah.

They got rid of the slut squad of dancers of years past and have a squad of kids who were cute and not gyrating.

The fans by us were all nice for a change. One of them even gave Dirty a noise maker he was admiring. There are however some fans, a couple of guys, who sit by the tunnel and say some nasty mean shit to the players as they come out. I actually think Pierson from Detroit went over and got into it with them last year. Cheer for your players, but they shouldnt be allowed to be on the opposite team that way. He said something to AD about her shoes.

LJ had a nice steal in the game and ran the fast break but Betty missed the layup (trying to be fancy).

When the game started, it was about one minute into the game and Dirty and I both looked at each other and at the same time said, Single coverage. We couldnt believe they only had Taj on LJ and she wasnt getting doubled when she got the ball. I said, they won't be doing that long. Someone will notice and correct it. But, by half way through the first quarter they were still singling her. 30 here we come.

Dirty, who cannot stand Christi Thomas, said there she goes with the chicken wing on JB. I said, I warned her.

During a timeout, the PA played Morris Day and The Time's "The Bird" Not too much forward thinking on that one. I told the lady next to us, "well isnt that another nice twist on things this year" she said, whats that? I said, "they are playing music to motivate the visiting teams point guard" She said, oh dear God.

Wendy made her three-point shot, Coach Heidi jumped straight off the bench and Coach D was pumping her fists. Wendy pumped her fist. The whole team was giving her props. A healthy, rebounding, shooting Wendy is going to make THE difference this year.

During the third quarter time out, all the players were involved in the huddle while the coaches were out drawing up plays or whatever away from the huddle. The players were all huddled in and talking to each other and offering encouragement. Betty and Sue were patting each other on the back and stuff. Great Great to see this. I had not seen this at all this season.

Betty was in there rebounding. It seemed she wasnt doing this in previous games but her was right in the mix this game. Woot!

Sherill Baker. Ok, this kid reminded me of Betty when she first came into the league. She got the ball and she was going to shoot it. Might as well just position for the rebound because she wasnt going to pass. She brought so much energy to the floor when she came in.. on both sides. She was a pesky defender too. I have no idea how many turnovers she forced, or passes she stole, but she for sure disrupted the flow of the game in a big way.

There were stands that had the all-star ballots in them. Full. Full. Full. If there had been time, I would have grabbed them and sent them up to you guys.

LaToya Thomas is a scary good shooter. She just doesnt seem to hustle.

There were so many empty seats, it was unreal.

In the 4th quarter I kept watching the fouls. I told Dirty we needed to get to the bounus right away for an insurance policy. No lead is safe in that building. We spanked out 5 team fouls right away and on the 5th Dirty and I were out of our seats jumping up and down like we had won the game.

During the 4th, LJ was getting frustrated with either Paige or Spencer. JB ? got fouled and LJ walked over to the bench while they were reporting the foul to the scorers table. AD was trying to check someone in and LJ came over and was trying to get her attention. Finally she pulled on the back of her jacket. She said, Ann. You need to do something. Get her off of me before I go off. She showed AD her shoulder which looked like claw or teeth marks on them and AD must have said, ok. LJ turned around and noticed that the whole production of the free throw was waiting on her to get on the key line and she went running over. It was funny. I think AD went over and said something to a ref the next time they came back down the court.

There was one point in the 4th quarter that Izi had the ball and LJ had position on her defender and Izi was going to pass the ball to LJ and LJ just said no. I think it stunned Izi because she just stood there holding the ball and it looked like she just tucked it under her arm. LJ smiled and Sue finally had to yell to Izi give her the ball.

After the end of the game the players wer e excited and slapping me the hand. Lj did the radio broadcast and I waited by the rail. KB was standing right by me waiting for LJ to come by and she looked up and said, you were right about the thirty. I just smiled and said when they single cover her, she is gonna get that 30 every time.

Finally LJ came by and hugged KB and then turned around and slapped my hand with a squeeze and said, Thanks Mate.

Who knows if all my positive support and talk about Fun made any difference.

Quotes from LJ after the game included, "It was fun."

Lisa Leslie's mom, Christine, came through the tunnel as the game had just started and got some applause and hugs from well wishers over the baby.

After the game, she came down to go back through the tunnel to leave and there was a new security person who was there and wouldnt let her in. She didnt have her credentials with her. She never once came off with the do you know who I am (a la her daughter in sea-tac which lead to the cavity search) and was gracious in waiting for the person to clear her. The officer came back with I still dont know who you are (this was right in front of my seat) and Christine was still gracious. She looked up at me and I smiled and shrugged. I said, even I know who you are, Christine. She said thanks. I asked her how the baby was and she said she is beautiful. Both Mama and Baby are doing great. She started to start to look impatient and when the security person looked up at me I said, "I think she looks more like LISA LESLIE's SISTER THAN HER MOTHER, dont you think. The security persons eyes got big and she turned her back and said something to someone on the radio and then waited a second before she started falling over herself in an apology.

Christine looked up at me and smiled and said thanks.

Classic Staple Center moment. The ushers and security there are overboard.