Saturday, July 29, 2006


Someday I will find time to catch up on +/- for the games.

I told my wife today that I have a crush on Ashley Robinson. Of course it is her 13 rebounds and lockdown defense on Cheryl Ford that I am crushing on, so my forgiving wife is ok with it. She has a crush on LJ so we are even there, but her motives are less about the basketball, or so I suspect. Just in case, please keep your copies of Black & White in the drawer if we ever come to visit. A little idle star worship never hurt anyone, right?

Of course, my two year old appears to have latched onto LJ as well. He knows names for other players, but he only has eyes for LJ. I have always had a soft spot for the unexpected performer, though.

I stood next to Karen Bryant tonight, but with my kids faces and hands covered with ice cream I didn't say what I wanted to say to her. The words on the tip of my tongue...

"Thanks for bringing this great game to our city. I'm sorry I took two years to discover the Storm and missed the Reign entirely." I will try to catch her next time. She deserves the thanks.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Help Save Our Teams

There is an urgent need to have as many people as possible assist handing out Bumper Stickers, Window Clings, T-Shirts and flyers to people attending the Storm games tonight (Friday) and Sunday, we would like to have around 100 people or more. Around 24 people are needed to march in the Seafair parade on Saturday after the Storm season ticket holder party.

If you can help hand things out at the game (you will get a free Save the Sonics and Storm t-shirt) show up 2 hours before the game at the fountain (not the international fountain) on the north side of the arena. That would be 5:00 tonight and 4:00 on Sunday.

If you can march in the parade, contact the SOS&S volunteer coordinator at

If you can't volunteer time, you can donate to the cause online at

Ticket sales are going strong for the last four home games of the season, but we want the BUILDING sold out...not just the lower bowl. See my earlier post if you want to donate tickets to girls for those last games. Aussies have donated more than a 100 tickets so far.

Signs supporting the Storm remaining in Seattle are showing up in WNBA arenas around the league...even in games where the Storm are not playing. WNBA solidarity is mighty impressive.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Donate Tickets to Upcoming Storm Games

The Storm are accepting donations for all the remaining Storm games which will be used to provide tickets to young girls from:

Camp Ten Trees- Girls on the Run- NW Girls Coalition

For more information please contact Michelle Flanigan of the Storm at 206-272-2742.

This is a great way to introduce our next generation of players and fans to the great product the WNBA has to offer and introduce them to the women who are living the dream now.

It is also a great way to help sell out the games to show the new owners, the league and local politicians what the community feels about the WNBA, the Storm and professional women's basketball in the Pacific NW.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Actions Not Words

I like Ed Evans. I have a much better "feeling" about Mr. Evans after hearing him on KJR than I did listening to Clay Bennett. I will take you up on your challenge to judge you and your partners by your actions rather than your words.

What I need from you is guidance about what fans of the Sonics and Storm here in Seattle need to do to help you succeed at keeping the team here in the area. We want that result, even more than you do, tell us what we can do to help.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Trapped in the Wilderness

OK, not quite. I have been technology impaired while at my sister's cabin in southern Massachusetts which has no internet access, and I couldn't even get my dial up to work since my software was so out of date...sigh. In a hotel room with wireless internet before I catch an early flight home tomorrow.

Register here to get tied in to the movement to save the Storm and the Sonics. The Storm are key to the effort and these people know it. I know them...they are fans and ticket holders to both teams. Get involved...get active...they have even convinced me NOT to request a refund on my season tickets...despite my need to do something. I will try to channel it to something useful to keep the sport I love and the teams I feel are MINE here in MY city.

I will get game data up for the last two fiascos as soon as I can.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Not so Angry...just sad

Getting over my initial anger.

Returning to my original sadness.

Heard the news as I was bringing my eldest son to his first Storm game of the season. He decided he wanted to go since it was his brother's nap time and they were having a mascot party for Doppler.

I just couldn't get excited once I got in. I was depressed and I depressed the season ticket holders around me with the news. The Storm tried to lift my spirits with some raucous play for about two minutes, and then they gave in to the depression themselves. The energy in the arena was already odd with camp day and a lack of STH's in their seats in the middle of a weekday, but I still sensed that I was not alone in my knowledge of the end of professional basketball in Seattle. This city and this state cannot and will not match what the city of Oklahoma City and its state of Oklahoma will be willing to do to attract an NBA team.

In a $350 million dollar deal the $10-15 million dollar Storm don't really matter all that much, they will just be dragged along and perhaps be an afterthought in the minds of the owners and the fans in Oklahoma. 12 months, 2 years, 3 years...I don't know when, but this team is gone. The new owners have flat out stated that Key Arena with renovations won't cut it. They want a NEW facility. That will cost considerably more than the $200 million that the BCOS requested to modify the Key and that the City refused to provide. Oklahoma City has fans begging for a franchise, and Seattle has people signing a petition to ban the government from providing funding for an arena. The apathetic "haves" cannot compete with the starving "have nots" in this case. The almost pathetic attempt by the former owners to say that they tried to keep the teams local and that these owners would try to keep the teams local was revealed as either wishful thinking or outright lying when Clayton Bennett began answering questions and said that he was "contractually bound" to make "good faith" efforts with the city and state for 12 months. Right. I will go to the rest of this year's Storm games. I am not sure that I will buy playoff tickets. I will try and get a refund for my Sonics season ticket, if I can't, perhaps I will donate it to charity. I am not angry, right now, but I am still bitter.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Oklahoma City Tornado loses to the Sacramento Monarchs

The WNBA Oklahoma City Tornado suffered a royal beating at the hands of the Sacramento Monarchs in their temporary home at Licata Center in the city of Seattle. The players appear to be struggling to remain motivated while playing so far from their home court and their fan base and it clearly showed in their play...averaging a meager 11 points per quarter over the first three quarters of play, able to score only when three Monarchs players began playing cribbage on their end of the court leaving two defenders to guard the Storm.

I am in a foul mood, and don't buy the rhetoric of the former and new ownership with regard to keeping the teams in Seattle. It did not ring true coming out of the mouth of Clayton Bennett. Perhaps they will prove me wrong, but I am not holding my breath. At least we know what happened to Home Court advantage for the Storm this season...they don't have any since they don't play any home games.

Tuesday Game Preview

This game is critical for the Storm.

They are fourth in the west, 1 game ahead of San Antonio and 1 1/2 games in front of Phoenix. It is too close to lose games now. To top it off Houston is only a game ahead of Seattle. LA has a nice lead, but, essentially the west offers a margin of 3.5 games between 2nd place and 5th place. The Storm need to make their move now.

Here is a look at the schedules for Houston, Seattle, San Antonio and Phoenix for the rest of July. Whoever makes a push here will get the seat.

6th Place: Phoenix Mercury
They are as up and down as the Storm at the moment. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games. They have wins over New York (2), Detroit, Minnesota and Chicago, of which only the Detroit win looks at all important. They have losses to LA, Connecticut, Washington and Indiana. Of those only Washington is indicative since I expect them to lose the others. They have 7 games remaining in July. I expect them to beat Washington (though they lost to them at home, and their 3-8 road record against the Mystics 8-2 home record makes that a weak prediction), Charlotte and San Antonio (their home record is terrible). Indiana should easily shut them down in Conseco. They have to play Houston twice, once in Phoenix and once on the road. This should be a split...Houston is very strong at home. Seattle MUST win their game in Phoenix on the 25th. Should this pattern play out...Phoenix would be 13-13 at the end of the month.

5th Place: San Antonio
San Antonio is a little odd this year. They are the only team in the leage with a winning road record (7-6) and a losing home record (3-5). The have had a streaky last 10 games...they lost games to Seattle, LA and Detroit (all make sense). They followed this with wins over New York, Chicago, LA and Houston (2 big surprises), then lost to Minnesota, Charlotte and Detroit (2 big surprises again). They have six games remaining in July. I am not sure why, but they have beat Houston twice already this year, home and away. I don't think Sheryl Swoopes will let the Silver Stars beat them again even in San Antonio, so they should lose that game even with Thompson still out. They haven't played Washington since preseason, but I predict a win in that home game. Both Connecticut games, LA and Phoenix should be losses. That leaves them at 11-16 at the end of the month.

4th Place: Seattle Storm
Who are these ladies? They are 5-5 over the last ten. They lost to Sacramento, Phoenix and Houston in games they should have won, only defeating San Antonio, whom they routed. They seemed to be out of their up and down period and prepared to close out games with wins over Sacramento, LA and Minnesota but their momentum was interrupted by a week off, a loss to Indiana, and the All Star break. They handily beat New York and then lost to Connecticut by deciding to only play one half of basketball against the 2 time Eastern Conference champions. They need to find the momentum of early July and carry it through to close the month. They have 7 games to close the month, with no more than 2 days off between games (oh LJ and her shins) and actually that only happens once...they have a tortuous road trip ahead with games every other day. They play the WNBA champions at noon today...they should win, they have played the Monarchs well the past few years in the key, and they always seem to step up against them. They then head out on the road to play Charlotte, New York, Washington and Phoenix. I predict a loss to Washington with the rest wins. They close out the month at home with games agains Detroit and LA. I think that they lose both. This would put them at 15-13 at the end of the month. They need to prove me wrong and take a game from someone here. August is not so tough for them if they can stay healthy, so now is the time for the push.

3rd Place: Houston Comets
Houson is having a weird season as Seattle and Phoenix, they are 5-5 over the last ten games. They had wins over Charlotte, Seattle, Washington, Sacramento, and Chicago, all of which they should have won. They had losses to Connecticut, LA, San Antonio, Detroit and Indiana. They should not have lost to San Antonio or their home game to Detroit. They have 5 games left in July. They have a chance to get revenge over San Antonio, with games against Minnesota, LA and a home and away against Phoenix. They handily beat the Lynx in Houston last time, so I give them a win there. LA has owned the Comets this year. I already predicted a split with Phoenix. That leave Houston at 16-14 by the end of the month. If the loss of Thompson hurts them more...they could fall to 4th in July. Their August is brutal with only two games against sub 500 teams. They will need to fight tooth and nail to maintain a playoff berth this season with both Phoenix and San Antonio hungry to displace them. Change those two wins to losses and Houston could find themselves out of the post season.

Monday, July 17, 2006

7-16 Storm vs. Sun

How do the Storm lose a game against a team with one of its top 2 scores is out, after it lost the first game of a back to back, they lead in rebounding, have the same shooting percentages (mostly), an equal number of turnovers and dominate the first four minutes of play?

Two words.

Asjha Jones.

Jones was a +22 in individual +/- for this game. After starting the game -11, Coach T inserted Asjha and they immediately went on a +8 run in the next 3+ minutes. If they hadn't benched the rest of the starters for the last 3 minutes they may have regained the lead.

After a rough -5 over three minutes to start to the second quarter, Coach T put the starters back on the floor with Jones and they went on a +8 run.

In the third quarter Coach T dumped rotation and put Jones in with the starters again. The only starter to rest in the third was Whalen for the final 6 minutes. The Sun were +18 in that stretch. Shouldn't these ladies have been tired?

In the fourth quarter, the Storm made their push with little success, unable to stop the Connecticut offense...and managing to only force a -3 on the Sun in that interval.

Curious to me is why Izi did not play more. She was +11 for the game with a +34 Net40 and only played limited minutes in the second half in a bizarre lineup with Bird, Lawson and Johnson. Her offense was not as strong as Barb's but she seemed to slow the Sun down. Jackson (+9/+34) and Wright (+4/+17) were the only other individuals with a positve +/-.

Most Effective Lineups
Bird-Wright-Castro-Jackson-Burse: +8
Bird-Lennox-Turner-Jackson-Burse: +5
Lawson-Wright-Castro-Jackson-Johnson: +4

Least Effective Lineups
Bird-Lennox-Turner-Robinson-Johnson: -8
Bird-Lawson-Turner-Johnson-Burse: -4

7-14 Storm vs. Liberty

I know. I am late. Having trouble fitting travel, work, family, sleep and basketball all into one 24 hour day with the insane schedule of last week and this week.

This was an important game for the Storm. They could not afford to lose against a struggling team like the Liberty, they need to take advantage of the Comets being without Canty and Thompson for the moment, and they know they have the Eastern Conference champs on Sunday followed by the WNBA champs on Tuesday.

On a side note, I sat next to Kelly Schumacher of the New York Liberty on my flight from JFK to Seattle on Thursday night. She was stuck in the middle seat, so I gave up my aisle seat to give her some leg room, then the guy on the window gave her his seat since there was no seat in front of him due to the door location at row 9 on the American style of Boeing 757. She looked much more comfortable there. She seemed surprised that I knew who she was (pleasantly surprised, not oh, no, freaky stalker guy surprised) and when she thanked us for moving for her I told her she didn't need stiff legs because I wanted to see a good game on Friday. I wished her luck at the end of the flight for their road trip, but rescinded any luck for Friday.

She said, "Not against your girls, huh?"

"No way, we need a win," I replied.

"Believe me, so do we," was her final answer.

The game was a blowout from the 4:31 mark of the 1st quarter onward. The Liberty reserves made a push in the final 4:49 of the fourth against the Storm bench, but it was over long before that point. I applaud them for fighting through each of the 40 minutes of game time, those ladies have some serious heart. The only Liberty players in the positive as far as +/- were Erin Thorn (+3), Christelle N'Garsanet (+3) and Ashley Battle (+5).

Individual +/- and Net40

Lennox +12 +4
Bird +19 +18
Turner +16 +12
Jackson +24 +28
Burse +19 +18
Johnson +6 -8
Wright +12 +4
Castro +12 +4
Gortman -8 -36
Lawson -3 -26
Robinson -9 -38

Most Effective Lineups
Almost all of them...the best of the best, though was:

Bird-Lennox-Turner-Jackson-Burse: +6
Lawson-Wright-Castro-Jackson-Johnson: +6

Least Effective Lineups
Lawson-Wright-Gortman-Robinson-Johnson: -8
Bird-Lennox-Castro-Johnson-Burse: -6

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Live from the ASG (or at least nearby)

So here I am in Times Square in New York City. I am sitting overlooking the Hudsun river from the 43rd floor of the Westin. Actually I was sitting here last night as well...not knowing that around the corner from me there was a WNBA All Star photo shoot going on. I am entirely oblivious since I came in from Jersey and didn't approach the hotel from that side of town. So while I am up trying to recuperate from a full day of meetings in Manhattan and Mahwah, NJ, Sue Bird, Sheryl Swoopes and Lisa Leslie are doing the pose thing right outside. Sigh.

So, was that Cynthia Cooper I passed walking earlier in the day at the NBA store on my way to a meeting on 52nd street? I swear it was. The people I was with were talking about having seen Kobe Bryant once at the store and I interrupt to what, I just saw Cynthia Cooper talking on her cell phone.

I am very excited about the game. I have nice seats (a gift from some associates who know I love the game) in Section 124. My three teenage nephews are takeing the train into the city with their Dad tomorrow, and I get to take the boys to the game while he strolls the city. I feared that they would not make it, but Nathaniel (the 16 year old) made sure his Mom and Dad understood just how disappointed he would be if they didn't figure out a way to make it work. So they are driving to Greenich and hopping a train. Somehow my brother-in-law convinced the 18 year old and 14 year old to come as well. I have wanted to take them to a game for years and am excited that they get the treat of an All Star Game as their first exposure to the WNBA. I only wish the Sun weren't their closest team (how about a Boston franchise already?).

I am not sure when my ASG report will be ready...I will have all four of them in my hotel room tomorrow, so I doubt I will get any writing done. Especially since I will need to pack for my flight home Thursday evening...can't miss the Liberty game on Friday. The Storm need a win.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Is Sue Bird REALLY Being More Aggressive?

The word out of the Storm coaching staff this season has been that Sue Bird needs to be more aggressive. Jayda Evans reported this summer that when Sue Bird contacted Anne Donovan this past winter to ask what she needed to do this season to prevent a repeat of the Comets playoff win in Key Arena, she was told to "be more aggressive."

We have heard this all season long, and have heard that Sue went back and watch game tape of her rookie year and saw the difference in her play. We have heard that she is trying to get back to that style. We have heard that she has struggled to do so but is making progress.

Well, here is her report card for the first half of the season.

The problems with Sue's game last season that I pointed out in this blog back in September, 2005 were around the drop in the number of 3 point shots she took, and how often she got to the free throw line. Let's take a look at where she stands now.

Percentage of shots from 3 point range
2006: 42.94%
2005: 35.03%
2004: 44.79%
2003: 38.04%
2002: 37.87%

Sue is approaching the championship year numbers in terms of how many of her shots are three pointers. The only problem is she is shooting her worst percentage from three since her sophmore year. She is about 4 points below her career average.

2006: 35.71%
2005: 43.69%
2004: 43.84%
2003: 35.00%
2002: 40.14%

It isn't going to help the team much if she is shooting them, but missing them. In 2004 she mad 2.25 three pointers per 40 minutes, she is down to 1.76 this year, which is the same number she was hitting last year. She needs to get that percentage up to make the aggression more effective. The defense won't respect your three point shot if you don't hit it, look at Ticha Penicheiro.

The good news is that her 2 point shooting at 46.24% is above her average of 45.18%, but still a little below her 2004 championship season mark of 48.33%.

She is being more aggressive with her shooting overall, she just needs to increase her percentage to be where the team needs her to be. Keep shooting Sue!

My next complaint was Sue's lack of free throw attempts last season. Sue is a fantastic free throw shooter and she can penetrate on the break or off the pick and roll any time she wants, yet her attempts dropped off in 2005. Her percentage here is much better, she is shooting 100% for the season which is 10 points above her career average, but sadly, she is shooting less free throws this year than she ever has.

2006: 1.76
2005: 2.71
2004: 2.99
2003: 2.43
2002: 4.00

Sue got to the line the most in her rookie season, but since she broke her nose in the 2004 playoffs, Sue has seemed reluctant to take the ball right in at those bigs like she used to. This is the part of the game Sue still needs to find. This will get her close to the basket for high percentage shots, it will open up passing lanes and her team mates as it forces the defense to collapse on her, and most importantly, it will get this FANTASTIC free throw shooter to the line.

It is a simple rule of basketball. Take the ball to the basket, attack, attack, attack and you leave the defense off guard and disrupted. This is what the team needs from Sue. This is the part of her game that we are all missing.