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June 16, 2008 at 6:51 PM

Sun game thread

SUN SHINES: It’s rare in Seattle, but folks are headed for the doors as the Sun puts the final touches on a 74-67 win. It’s deafeningly quiet in KeyArena. A few people have decided to clap, but most are upset. Turner just pumped a fist at press row and is screaming as she heads back into the locker room. Guess she wanted this one, finishing with 13 points.
NO CHANCE: Part of the Storm’s problem is not getting second-chance shot opportunities. Seattle is getting outscored in that category 24-7 by the Sun. Jackson has tied the game, again, this time at 63 points apiece with 2:39 remaining.
BASIC LAYUP?: The layin isn’t a friend of the Storm. The team has many this season and none has hurt more than the dozen missed in this game. Wright missed one in the fourth quarter that could have tied the game at 59. But Swoopes was just fouled on a fast break, so possibly she can tie the game with 5:21 remaining.
TURNING IT UP: The Sun bench is way more productive offensively than the Storm’s. Turner has 10 points and two rebounds to help Connecticut build a 52-50 lead. It’s an exciting back-and-forth type of pace, though. Seattle just needs more than average defense from its bench. They need to score and pull of a couple of stops, too.
LJ-4-THREE: Jackson just gave the Storm the lead with a three-pointer off a dish from Bird. But Turner, who worked on her three-point shooting during the offseason, just took it back with her own. Turner looks great physically, but Shyra Ely has been playing well for the Storm. Ely is off tonight, though, missing two attempts in 11 minutes. She does have two assists and one rebound. Storm is down 42-41.
BYE-BYE BIRDY: Bird collected her fourth foul, apparently hooking Whalen on a play. Rookie Kimberly Beck replaced her with 0.5 seconds remaining in the half. Whalen gave the Sun the lead 37-36. That foul is going to hurt.
TIE GAME: Whalen found her shot and tied the game at 34 with a jumper. Bird is shooting well at 5 of 7 from the field, but the team is getting called for fouls and isn’t playing smart, aggressive defense.
SUN RISING: The Sun is on a 10-4 run behind the play of their starters, which have finally joined the game. Anderson has led with five points during the spurt. Storm shooting has dropped to 47.8 percent while Wright is making mistakes, collecting her third foul with 5:51 remaining in the half. Storm leads 28-27, and Bird just committed an offensive foul to turn the ball over again.
GIMME THAT: Jackson just took the ball from Sun G Barbara Turner, who was trying for a late-second shot. The Storm couldn’t convert, but is off to a good start and leads 24-15 at the end of the first quarter. The Storm is shooting 52.6 percent from the field and outscoring the Sun 16-6 inside. Not hard when Connecticut’s tallest player is 6 feet 2. The Sun is winning the rebounding battle, 12-9.
QUICK CHANGE: Connecticut coach Mike Thibault changed out his entire starting five at the 5:32 mark for a 3-for-12 start while the Storm breezed to the hoop. The bench pulled the Sun back into the game, but Connecticut is still down 13-6 at the first timeout. FYI, the technical difficulties have been fixed and if you like, you can catch Connecticut’s feed of the game on NBA-TV.
NKOTB: If you know that acronym you’re just as cheesy as the game crew at KeyArena (and me). Wright is still playing with fire and the game crew gave her a tag song, New Kids on the Block’s “You got it (the right stuff)” Wright has scored four of the Storm’s opening 11 points and collected a steal which she passed ahead to Cash for a layin. Seattle leads 11-2.
Stopped by the Sonics’ rally outside the downtown courthouse today and it was an emotional sight. About 1,200 people decked in green and gold were there with Gary Payton, Spencer Hawes, and Xavier McDaniel participating as celebrity speakers. Green and gold balloons and various homemade signs peppered the crowd and you could hear the chanting all the way up on the 18th floor, where the proceedings were taking place.
As I watched the crowd, all I could think is I’m glad the Storm isn’t tied up in the mess anymore. And, hopefully, something is worked out so that a NBA team remains in Seattle. It’s just wrong to have one and not the other.
The Sonics rally, beautiful (and rare) 70-degree weather, plus a Mariners game may hurt the Storm’s attendance tonight. The crowd is modest so far, as players go through introductions. One good sight is the return of F Kelly Santos from her Brazilian national team. She helped her country grab the last berth for the Beijing Games.
Sun G Barbara Turner received a warm and extended welcome from the KeyArena crowd due to some technical difficulties that delayed the Storm intro. Things are still trying to be worked out, cancelling the Storm intro, so here are your starting lineups.
F Swin Cash
F Sheryl Swoopes
C Lauren Jackson
G Tanisha Wright
G Sue Bird
F Tamika Whitmore
F Asjha Jones
C Amber Holt
G Jolene Anderson
G Lindsay Whalen
The officials are Michael Price, Kevin Sparrock, James Williams



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