The Storm collected more than $18,000 in donations for relief efforts in the New Orleans area in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Way to go Storm fans. The American Red Cross is still accepting donations, if you can help, please do.
Janelle Burse recovered from her lackluster effort in Game 1.
She increased her offensive production and improved her defense to hold Snow to a more reasonable line.
Neither of my other two keys were achieved however. Suzy didn't make her free throws, only because she didn't have any to take. Tanisha continued to be tentative with her shot...she refused to take the same open three on the same play of a screen set by Suzie. She only took one shot for the game and scored no points.
The Storm managed their turnovers (16 vs. 12 in the first game) and forced many more turnovers (17 vs. 9 in the first game). They had more assists than Houston (18-11) and they out rebounded Houston (31-30).
The first of their two big problems were that they allowed Houston to rattle their offense and launched by far too many errant 3 point shots. They shot 15.8%, going 3-19 from three point range. This was a worse percentage than their 18.8% 6-32 outing in their season opener against LA.
The second problem was also a result of their response to Houston's defense and tendency to shoot the long ball. They were not aggressive enough taking the ball to the hoop and the referees punished them for it by only sending them to the line 5 time for the entire game. The more aggressive Comets got there 28 times. Arcain, Swoopes and Thompson took the ball into the paint and went a combined 15 for 31 from the charity stripe. We can complain about the officials all we want (they did make some bad calls and ignored some Comet fouls), but in the end the Storm were not aggressive. You rarely get to the free throw line off jump shots, you get to the free throw line by attacking the basket.
Sue took 50% of her shots from 3. Izzy took 50% of her shots from 3. Betty took 40% of her shots from 3. Combined they went 3-18 or 16.6% from long range.
In the first half JB scored repeatedly of assists from pentrating guards. She posted up once for a nifty move, but most were lay-ups. She hit 100% going 6-6 from the field. She touched the ball ONE TIME in the last 8 minutes of the game on offense. Lauren missed all of her threes, but was 7-9 for a hot 77.7% from the block. She took ONE SHOT in the last 8 minutes of the game. Watch the tape...count the post players touches in the last 8 minutes.
LJ looked beat on offense the last 8 minutes. She set lazy screens and Staley hounded Sue never letting her get space. Lauren NEVER rolled to the basket off the high screen. In Tuesday's win LJ was beat near the end of the game as well. However, she had rolled on the pick, and popped on the pick so many times that the defense could not adjust. She was predictable last night and Staley easily chased Sue over the pick every time knowing Lauren was going to pop or step beyond the three point line. She never even tried to guard the roll.
I was sitting on the visitor bench corner of the game. During the last few minutes the Comet's defense all floated to whichever side of the floor Betty had the ball on when she got it in the last 10 seconds of the shot clock. All five defenders on one side of the court. You would have thought that the Storm were on defense the way they stayed with their defenders. They stepped with the defenders to the ball side putting all 10 players on one side of the court. How the heck is anyone supposed to create with that kind of spacing? JB, Izzy and Lauren needed to float to the open spots abandoned by the Comets defenders. This either forces the defender to step back to guard the pass which opens a lane for the ball handler, OR it leaves you wide open for the pass and an open jumper. They NEVER stepped to that open spot. They just sat around and watched Betty try to save them. Ladies...that is OUR job! You need to play the game for 40 minutes, not the 32 you played last night.
Despite all this the Storm only lose by three at the last minute. They should have won this game. The MUST win the game on Saturday.