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June 20, 2008 at 5:54 PM

Fever game thread

STORM WINS: Seattle loves defense and its team put on a clinic tonight. Jackson scored 11 of her final 18 points in the second half, but it was her two blocks and the team’s seven steals after the break that really helped the Storm win. Seattle held Indiana scoreless for 5:16. The team’s final 12 steals were a season-high and the Fever couldn’t muster a point off the Storm’s total 10 turnovers. Hope they keep this game film in their back pocket for reminders if there’s ever a lull in the future.
BLEEDING STOPPED: Hoffman stopped the Storm’s scoring spree, making a free throw with 2:45 remaining. Jackson was awarded a technical foul for her mouth. Probably long overdue this season. What’s $150, right? UPDATE: Jackson said all she said was the bull fecal matter comment, “One of my lighter moments. That’s Australian for I love you. I’m putting it down as he is sensitive,” she said.
WRIGHT STUFF: Oh, crow taste good, doesn’t it? Wright has made back-to-back flashy plays to help the Storm continue their 13-0 run on the Fever. Bird has help keep the fire going with nifty picks and Jackson has shot some threes. Seattle leads 72-59, holding Indiana to just two points so far in the quarter.
RALLY TIME: Yep, the Storm has decided they’re not going to lose this one. They’ve outscored the Fever 5-0 to pull ahead 64-59 with 6:08 remaining. A traditional three-pointer by Jackson at the top of the key forced Dunn to call a timeout.
BIRD’S THE WORD: An old-fashioned three-point play by Bird tied the game again at 59 points apiece. The Storm also played some good defense, drawing a Fever shot clock violation to regain possession of the ball. Maybe a rally is on?
STREAK BROKEN: Griffith missed the team’s first free throw attempt, going 0 of 2 from the line with 8:03 remaining in the game. After a Catchings jumper, the Storm is down 59-56 at the 7:53 mark. The Storm is getting outrebounded (31-27) and isn’t showing the same fight it had to open the game.
TAKING THE LEAD: LaToya Bond gave the Fever their first lead of the game on — guess what — a three-pointer with 59.6 seconds left in the third. Sherill Baker made two free throws to make the score 57-54. Indiana is 8 of 19 from three-point range overall.
LOVING THE FREEBIES: If it weren’t for the Storm making all 17 of their free throw attempts, this game would be a lot different. The Fever is shooting 45.5 percent from the field, using timely three-pointers to continually inch closer to Seattle. Catchings just scored her first basket of the night, a three-pointer to tie the score at 52 points apiece with 1:30 remaining in the third quarter.
CATCHINGS APPEARS: Catchings entered the game with about 8:20 remaining in the third quarter. Storm leads 46-37.
AT THE HALF: Well, I worked my over to Donovan and was rejected, again. At least this one came with a smile and a reason. “I’m here socially,” she said. Donovan also mentioned that she’s hopeful to get a look at Catchings in the second half. The Americans have three spots to fill on the national team roster and a lot is depenent on Catchings’ health.
STANDING OVATION: Team USA coach Anne Donovan, the former Storm coach, is in attendance and received a standing ovation from the KeyArena crowd. No, I haven’t worked my way over to her seat, but you know I’m going to try. Former Storm assistant Heidi VanDerveer is seated with Donovan.
FOR THREE: The three-pointer has been good to the Fever. They’ve used two of them this quarter to pull within 29-28. The latest was from Bevilaqua.
DOUGLAS OUT: Douglas has been sitting on the end of the Fever bench with a heating pad on her back. But she’s getting back in the game now, telling Dunn she’s fine. She was 1 of 3 from the field for two points in seven opening minutes of the game.
SPOTTED: The game crew put a spotlight on Seahawks QB Matt Hasslebeck, who’s in attendance with his kids. Sonics legend Slick Watts is also here. And so is Washington assistant women’s basketball coach Fred Applin. But is anybody missing Clarence, Betty Lennox’s brother? He used to sit in corner courtside seats in a different colored suit for every game. Nice.
BUMP-N-DRAIN: Jackson pinged off Sutton-Brown’s defense like a ball on a wall, but turned to recoup and drain an 11-footer that gave the Storm a 23-16 lead at the end of the opening quarter. It’s the type of play that should give the Storm confidence throughout the night. The rebounding is even at nine apiece, but Seattle is really making and effort, playing aggressively. The Storm is 5-0 when it has at least two days in between games.
CATCHINGS UPDATE: Dunn said during pregame that F Tamika Catchings would only play 15 minutes and that will probably only be in the second half because of the difficulty to stay warm with limited minutes through two halves.
CASHING IN: It looks like a mismatch, but Bevilaqua (5 foot 7) is guarding Cash (6-1) and has already picked up two fouls while playing her. Bevilaqua is a superior defender, but is getting trapped in bad positions against Cash. The Storm has started out rocking, grabbing six rebounds to the Fever’s one and leading 8-0 with 7:32 remaining in the first quarter.
TULLY WINS: Dunn received a warm applause, but it was clear who the crowd favored from the Indiana bench — Bevilaqua. The crowd went wild for her and there are even some Fever fans wearing the team’s gear in attendance tonight.
BOOK TOSS: For those keeping track, G Tanisha Wright has cracked open her first book of the season. Bird gave her a copy of “The Shack” by William P. Young. It’s a spiritual read, but Bird said it’s not that religious. Wright can’t read on planes because it makes her dizzy, but she’s squeezing in time with the busy travel schedule.
Storm C Yolanda Griffith is on the court warming up with the posts and will start tonight. Coach Brian Agler is uncertain whether he’ll limit her minutes, but will definitely monitor her body language to be sure the self-proclaimed “warrior” isn’t trying to suck it up for the team and is actually hurting long-term progress.
Former Storm coach Lin Dunn returns to Seattle a couple times a year since resigning in 2002, so her second return as coach of Indiana hasn’t made her jittery. It’s her favorite stop on the WNBA tour and she spent pre-game catching up Storm F Lauren Jackson. Dunn was upset to learn that Seattle’s road trip to Indiana in July will be one the games Jackson misses.
Fever G Tully Bevilaqua, who helped the Storm win their 2004 title, will also miss WNBA games, joining the Australian national team to train, according to Dunn. Bevilaqua has long wanted to represent her country and it appears she’ll finally get that chance.
Fans that show on-time are in for a real treat as jazz musician Michael Powers performs the National Anthem with his funky guitar. He’s a fan and is here promoting his latest CD, “20 Songs for 20 Years.”
Here are your starting lineups:
F Swin Cash
F Lauren Jackson
C Yolanda Griffith
G Sheryl Swoopes
G Sue Bird
F Katie Douglas
F Ebony Hoffman
C Tammy Sutton-Brown
G Tan White
G Tully Bevilaqua
Tonight’s officials are Kurt Walker, Shelley Nakasone, and Tom Mauer.



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