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May 24, 2008 at 12:12 PM

Silver Stars game thread

STORM LOSE: The Storm suffered their first loss of the season 87-72 to the Silver Stars. Seattle has lost its past four games in San Antonio. The team heads back to Seattle and will have a mini training camp before playing San Antonio again on Friday at KeyArena.
FRENCH DEBUT: Now Young is out of the game, substituted by Lawson-Wade, who is making her 2008 debut.
THAT’S IT: Agler just swapped in his reserves, calling the game with 1:15 remaining. Here’s wishing Hughes would take Young out. She just hit another three-pointer.
HAMMON FOR MVP: Can I start my pitch for Hammon as the 2008 MVP, yet? This Silver Stars team is tough and with Wauters really stateside, they’re strong enough to win it all. It’s still extremely early, but they’re exposing the Storm’s faults. I’m reminded that the Storm doesn’t play well on national TV, though, and that is true. San Antonio is up 80-66 with 3:10 left in the game.
BYE YO: Griffith just collected her sixth foul and is out of the game. Ely is in the game for her and LJ has moved to the center position. Storm is down 73-63 and radio is talking about “baby steps.” Way to keep it positive guys.
NOTEABLES: Forgot to mention that Mrs. Texas and Storm owner Dawn Trudeau are in attendance. Mrs. Texas gave an anti-drug speech at halftime. Apparently her campaign hasn’t reached Dallas F/G Josh Howard, who stated earlier that he smokes pot during the NBA offseason.
NOT THIS TIME: It may be too early to call, but I don’t think the Storm will pull this one out. Hammon is hitting the threes and LJ has never matched up well against Young and that’s the case again today. The Seattle bench is giving the team minimal production and the Silver Stars defense seems like it’s really bothering the Storm. Seattle trails 69-57 with 7:39 left in the game.
OUCH: Yeah, Buescher is still a Storm killer, even after knee surgery. She nailed two late three-pointers to help the Silver Stars take a 62-53 lead into the final quarter. She has seven points, three steals, and three boards off the bench. Darling is leading San Antonio with 14 points.
TEXAS HOLD ‘EM: The refs just called a technical foul on Hughes because he was griping about a non-call. Jackson missed the FT, but Hughes is still heated and had to be held back by his assistants. There’s an officials’ timeout and Hughes is talking it over with the crew now. Agler was griping earlier about wanting consistency from the refs.
TIME!: Here we go again. The Silver Stars had to call a timeout because the Storm opened on a 9-0 run and is unbelievable on defense, Swoopes even collected a block on G Vickie Johnson. If they win, I’m not starting these types of blogs until the second half. Maybe it’s because Swoopes and Griffith are old and they know they can only play 20 minutes? Anyway, Storm is down 43-37 and has the ball with 7:55 left in the third.
CASH MONEY: Cash has her own personal 9-2 run to help the Storm chip away at the lead. Seattle is making some defensive stops, but Bird and LJ are out of rhythm. Bird passed to LJ when her back was to the PG and San Antonio converted the pickup into another basket. The Storm trails 43-30 at the half, but what else is new? If you’re wise, and the Storm stays true to form, you’re tuning in now for another Seattle comeback win.
WRIGHT STUFF: Gotta give T some credit for the smooth defensive steal that she passed ahead to Cash for a layin. Cash’s past five points have pulled the Storm within 39-26 with 3:43 remaining before the half. Swoopes is vocal today, talking to the players in the huddle during the current timeout.
CHOKING?: It’s an entertaining game with two great coaches, but you can’t say the Silver Stars are walloping the Storm, even though the score is 34-21. Seattle can’t keep a hold of the ball long enough to make a push. And right on cue, Cash just committed another TO for the Storm. The tally is now 13. Hammon converted it into a three-pointer to make the score 37-21 with 5:09 remaining.
STICKING WITH THE BENCH: Agler is sticking with Shyra Ely, Ashley Robinson, Tanisha Wright, Katie Gearlds, and Swoopes to start the second quarter despite the group giving up a 10-0 run. Wright had three turnovers in the quarter. Swoopes is huddling the players for a pep talk now.
BUESCHER BACK: Buescher has checked into the game, wearing a brace on her left knee from the injury suffered last season. It’s good to see her back on the court. And she doesn’t appear to have missed a stepped. She remains tough on defense and aggressive on offense. She’s helped the Silver Stars take a 30-17 lead. San Antonio was facing the Storm reserves with Swoopes being the only starter on the court. Seattle had 10 turnovers in the quarter for 12 San Antonio points.
TOLD YOU SO: OK, San Antonio has just made a push — a 7-0 run to be exact. Wauters is connecting down low, not hard when Bird at 5-foot-9 is one of the defenders, and Seattle is making small mistakes on offense. The score is 18-11 with 3:24 remaining in the opening quarter.
OFFENSE CLICKING: Afraid to write this because you know what normally happens, but the Storm is off to a solid start. Griffith (0-for-3) and Bird (zero attempts) are the only staters not to connect on a shot, yet, but they are contributing in other ways. I’ve been waiting for this matchup because it’s two veteran teams. Hammon is her usual menace self. She has three assists and just ignited a smooth play where she stole the ball from Griffith on defense, passed ahead and watched as Darling sank a three-pointer. Silver Stars are ahead 13-11 with 4:42 remaining in the opening quarter.
INTERANATIONAL RETURN: Guess who’s back in the league? Edwige Lawson-Wade. The former Storm guard arrived in San Antonio on Thursday due to having trouble securing a visa from her native France. Lawson-Wade took a break from the WNBA following the 2006 season to play for the French National Team and to travel with her husband, a former Storm practice player. France didn’t qualify for the Olympics so Lawson-Wade was picked up by San Antonio. But prior to returning stateside, Lawson-Wade’s team was the one that lost to Bird and LJ for the Russian championship. “I told her that I think she’s going to have the best summer that she’s ever had,” said Lawson-Wade of Bird. “Because this season in Europe she looked really good, sharp and was scoring a lot. Lauren, of course, was the man, like always.” The Silver Stars are also welcoming back Belgium center Ann Wauters, who wanted to return to the league to play for coach Dan Hughes.
Tonight’s game marks the return of coach Brian Agler to San Antonio and he made the rounds catching up with his former players and fellow coaches. Silver Stars G Becky Hammon said she was really upset at his move, making sure she was one of the first to leave a congratulatory message when he was hired in Seattle.
“He was my rebounder,” Hammon said. “Everyday he’d work with me and my shooting and was really consistent with me. I appreciated that, so for personal reasons, I was sad to see him go. But I’m very happy for him. That’s where he should be.”
Agler has said repeatedly that he’d like Bird to play like Hammon, being more aggressive with the ball and scoring more.
“He just gave us the green light to play and be ourselves,” Hammon said. “Trust our instincts and build trust with each other. Go play basketball and I loved being in that kind of system and that kind of atmosphere.”
Here are today’s starters
STORM
F Lauren Jackson
F Swin Cash
C Yolanda Griffith
G Sue Bird
G Sheryl Swoopes
SILVER STARS
F Sophia Young
F Vickie Johnson
C Ruth Riley
G Becky Hammon
G Helen Darling
Today’s officials are Scott Twardski, Kurt Walker, and Angelica Suffren.

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