Sunday, June 17, 2007

6/15 Seattle vs. Houston

This was an odd game. I didn't walk away feeling charged up emotionally like I do after most wins. Perhaps it is the shock at seeing Houston playing so poorly compared to what I am used to from them. Perhaps it was time for their era to end. It may also be frustration at the way Seattle almost let a team playing so poorly steal a game from them. If not for LJ in the second half, this game would have been uncomfortably close.

First Quarter
The Storm started off strong, but once Betty Lennox sat at 2:47 mark they went on a slide until the final 44 seconds of the quarter and manged to eke out a 2 point advantage. The Storm slide coincided with the substitution of Crystal Smith into the game for the Comets as the Comets went on a +5 run while she was in the game.

Second Quarter
The Storm bench started off this quarter nicely with a +3 run in the first 2:11 of the quarter with LJ at the three surrounded by the core bench players of Wright, Gearlds, Palmer and Robinson. They had a slide over the next two minutes but the starters recovered it all and the Storm went the half with a five point advantage.

Third Quarter
The Storm struggled through this whole quarter, finally taking command in the final 2:49 with a +5 run. The Comets had a bizarre lineup on the floor at that point with Smith, Turner, Thompson, Lyttle and Snow all on the floor. The Storm were able to increase their lead to 11 points, but emotionally the whole crowd knew the game was already over.

Fourth Quarter
The Storm dominated from start to finish with a strong +5 run to start the quarter by the starters and a solid +3 run before they turned things over to the bench which managed to allow a -4 run in the final two minutes.

Most Effective Shooters

PlayerFloor %eFG%
Lauren Jackson70%72%
Iziane Castro Marques59%50%
Wendy Palmer55%100%
Betty Lennox52%45%
Janell Burse49%50%

Best Individual Ratings

Lauren Jackson148.20
Iziane Castro Marques111.18
Betty Lennox105.15
Wendy Palmer101.40

Best Plus/Minus

Lauren Jackson+18
Iziane Castro Marques+14
Betty Lennox+13
Janell Burse+11

Most Effective Lineups

Bird-Lennox-Castro-Jackson-Burse: +13
Wright-Lennox-Gearlds-Jackson-Palmer: +5
Wright-Gearlds-Jackson-Palmer-Robinson: +4
Bird-Lennox-Castro-Palmer-Burse: +1

Random Thoughts
It was nice to see Barb Turners' smile light up and her body relax once she realized that Storm fans were happy to see her and eager to give her a huge welcome back. Kudos to Matt Pitman for giving us a beat before announcing her to realize that she was the last reserve left standing on the court unannounced. The Comets look a lot like the Storm when Tanisha is running the offense with Jackson in the lineup. The ball moves around, fails to penetrate and then someone jacks up a shot late in the clock with a hand in their face. The Storm defense was able to sag back on the post and leave someone on the ball. If the ball made it to the post they could double quickly on the pass. Without Swoopes in the lineup NO ONE moves when the ball goes into the post leaving them covered on the pass out and out of position for the rebound. The young players need to learn to move to the open spot created by the double. They also need to get some shooters to leave some room for post entry passes. Michelle Snow is getting better every year, but she can't get the ball. She was 6-7 in this game. She should have had twice the number of attempts but outside of Shields, Turner and Maiga-Ba, the perimeter went 2-18. That just won't cut it.

Since we have a break in Storm action I am going to post some numbers for the team for the first quarter of the season with 9 games under their belts. I should have them up Monday or Tuesday this week.

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