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June 13, 2008 at 4:14 PM

Silver Stars game thread

STORM LOSES: San Antonio found itself in the second half and scrapped its way to a 74-69 win, remaining one of the final three teams to be undefeated at home. The Storm looked dejected after the game and things don’t get any easier as they face a struggling Houston that’s looking for a win on Saturday. The Storm also dropped the series to San Antonio 1-2, which could matter later during seeding for the playoffs. Now the Silver Stars have the head-to-head advantage against the Storm.
A WRAP?: Seattle had to foul, so Bird did so on Johnson. But despite only being to the line 10 times this season, Johnson calmly made both FTs and the Silver Stars have a 73-69 lead en route to an apparent win with 14.0 seconds remaining. The Storm really blew this one in the second half.
SHADDY CALLS: There was some confusion on whether Buescher had six fouls or not (ruled not) and Jackson was called for a phantom foul that put Young at the line to extend the lead to 71-68 with 25.9 remaining. Bird had the ball stripped from her and Seattle’s shooting has cooled for the unfortunate turn. Bird is in-bounding the ball now for a last stab at the win.
LEAD VANISHED: With a flick of the wrist, Wauters made an over-the-shoulder layin against Jackson to give the Silver Stars their first lead since 5-3 at 63-61 with 4:16 remaining. The Storm called a timeout, but their attempts ended up being turnovers.
NOT MONEY: Cash is struggling tonight, 1 of 7 from the field. She had a couple of chances to put Seattle ahead, but couldn’t convert under the hoop. The game is tied again, this time at 61 points apiece with 4:33 remaining. The crowd is smaller than the Storm’s last visit, but they’re real loud and on their feet trying to help the team to its fifth consecutive home win.
TIE GAME: Young tied the game at 56 points apiece for her team on a three-pointer at the top of the key. Bird tried to respond, but missed her ensuing attempt. No worries. The Storm used fast break layins by Swoopes and Jackson to pull back ahead 60-56 with 7:34 remaining in the game.
DIRTY DARLING?: Man, I’m surprised Swoopes didn’t smack Darling in the face with the way the G was up in her grill, swinging her hands and yelling “Ball! Ball!” Swoopes got the call, though, and calmly went to the line for two. Seattle is clinging to a 56-53 lead at the end of the quarter, not playing as precisely as they did in the opening half.
SILVER STREAK: San Antonio is making its expected push, Hammon made a three-pointer and then dished ahead to Buescher for a layin to close the gap to 50-46 with 3:04 remaining in the third quarter. Seattle is a little sloppy with the ball and has missed some baskets that went in earlier in the game. Ashley Robinson is telling her teammates to “talk it out” during the timeout. A Bird three-pointer swung the momentum back.
THEIVERY CONTINUES: Swoopes’ timing in the steals is uncanny. She picked up another, but couldn’t convert on the layin. Was going to talk about how she’s scoreless, but she just made a leaning jay for her first bucket of the game. Storm leads 45-34 with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter.
END OF HALF: Unlike their last oh, three trips to San Antonio, Seattle is off to an impressive start and leading the Silver Stars 40-30 at the break. They have 14 assists on 17 made FGs and have limited San Antonio to four offensive rebounds, I beleive all on the same possession. The Storm closed the second quarter on a 15-9 run and Bird still leads all scores with 17 points. She also has five assists.
BECKY BOUNCE: Hammon nearly pulled an LJ, bouncing the basketball and walking toward the official in anger toward a call. She stopped herself, though, and tried to smile it off. Her San Antonio team is still struggling, shooting 35.3 percent from the field and getting outrebounded 21-18.
GRIFFITH OUT: Griffith is back on the bench, Agler telling her the matchup wasn’t right. At least she’s able to play. Storm is up 36-28 with 2:58 in the opening half remaining after a Katie Geralds layin.
GRIFFITH BACK: Griffith is back from the locker room and set to check into the game on the next break.
AGLER HARPING: The Storm is playing well, but Agler is pushing his team, knowing this is just the beginning and who knows what type of adjustments the Silver Stars are going to make at the break. He just had a talk with Wright, telling her to “Get in the moment and play.” Wright has made a few mental errors, but everything is covered by the awesome play of Bird. She is now 6 of 7 from the field for a game-leading 17 points.
GRIFFITH UPDATE: Yo is still in the locker room with a tweaked left knee and ankle. It’s her decision on whether she’ll return, but Ely is holding it down. She hit another basket for four points and three boards.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: Griffith is still in the locker room, but the Storm is on fire to start the game. Bird is 4 of 5 from the field, attacking the basket, and Jackson has four rebounds. Ely has also helped off the bench, making some strong moves and playing good defense. The only blip was G Tanisha Wright tripping to the court on a late-second play to end the quarter.
GRIFFITH HURT: Griffith looked like sje was going to glide to the hoop for an open layin, but as the defense closed around her, she pulled up and crumbled to the court in pain. Griffith walked off on her own and appears OK. The Storm is aggressive tonight, leading 12-5 and holding the Silver Stars to 16.7 percent shooting (1 of 6). F Shyra Ely replaced her in the lineup.
SUE FOR THREE: Possibly the streak of ugly shooting is over for Bird. She hit her first shot, a three-pointer, and then collected a steal which she converted into a layin for five of Seattle’s opening 7-5 lead.
Only three teams in the league are undefeated at home. San Antonio is one at 4-0, losing all four of its games on the road. Seattle (6-0) and Detroit (4-0) are the other teams with perfect records on its home court.
The Storm hopes to break the streak tonight in their quest for homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. Seattle also wants to rack up as many wins as possible before losing two-time MVP Lauren Jackson for five games next month as she prepares for the Olympics with her Australian national team.
As you probably guessed, it’s sweltering hot in Texas. Hit 100-degrees earlier this week and was in the 90s today. No pool time for me, though, last time I tried that move on game day, my brain warped on deadline.
It’s a reunion all-around (what game isn’t?) as former Storm guard Edwidge Lawson-Wade caught up with her old teammates and Storm coach Brian Agler chatted with former boss, San Antonio coach Dan Hughes. And Jackson sat atop the scorer’s table to talk with former Storm guard Sandy Brondello, who’s an assistant coach in San Antonio with her husband Olaf Lange. Brondello also had son Brody in tow.
The Silver Stars shook-up their starting lineup, swapping Erin Buescher for Helen Darling. Belgium center Ann Wauters has also worked her way into the starting five, getting the nod over Ruth Riley.
Here’s tonight’s complete starting lineups:
F Swin Cash
F Lauren Jackson
C Yolanda Griffith
G Sheryl Swoopes
G Sue Bird
F Erin Buescher
F Sophia Young
C Ann Wauters
G Vickie Johnson
G Becky Hammon
Tonight’s officials are Jeffery Smith, Angelica Suffren, and Daryl Humphrey



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