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June 29, 2008 at 5:52 PM

Mystics game thread

ANOTHER RECORD: The Storm set a season-record for opponent scoring, holding the Mystics to 49 points on 33.9 percent shooting. Beard, normally an electric scorer, was 6 of 17 from the field for 16 points and four rebounds. Bird was Seattle’s high-scorer with 14 while the bench was good, again, with Wright, A-Rob, and Shyra Ely making plays. Storm wins 64-49 and improves to 8-1 at KeyArena.
FOR THREE: LJ missed all four of her attempts against LA and has only hit five in her past five games, but Jackson hist another one with 2.3 remaining in the third to give Seattle a 47-34 lead headed into the fourth. This is going to be a brutal score, but that’s what happens when you play solid defense. Seattle is holding Washington to 36.6 percent shooting, although the Mystics did shoot 50 percent in the third.
FOR THREE: A three-pointer by Swoopes put the team up 42-32 after a scary little rally by the Mystics. Seattle just forced Washington into a shot-clock violation, too, which is keeping the Mystics rattled. There’s 6:02 remaining in the third.
A LITTLE DRIVE: Little made her first basket as a Storm, a clean baseline drive to the hoop with 3:54 remaining. The score is 33-22, but Little did pick up another foul. Storm offense is back up to 52 percent.
FIRST BUCKET: Jackson hit her first FG, a put back on a rebound with 4:58 remaining in the half. But the Australian is getting some offensive help tonight from Bird, Swoopes, and Cash, who are a combined 10-of-15 from the field. Seattle leads 31-17 with 4:20 left in the quarter.
SINGLE FOCUS: When asked what Rollins saw on the Storm’s roster, Rollins’ sole answer was Jackson, perhaps remembering her 47-point night in Washington. He said his team would double-team the reigning MVP and he wasn’t kidding. Jackson just scored her first points of the game at the 6:59 mark off two free throws, missing her three FG attempts as she was swarmed by Mystics defenders. Add a bucket by Swoopes and the Storm is back up 25-15 in the second quarter.
SMACK THAT: LJ had a monster block on F Kendra Wecker that got the crowd roused. The Storm is playing entertaining defense with Swoopes just picking up a steal. They have dropped offensively (40 percent), though, and Beard just sank a three-pointer at the buzzer signaling the end of the opening quarter, which inched the Mystics within 17-12.
LITTLE DEBUT: Newcomer Camille Little made her debut at the 4:52 mark of the first quarter and promptly was scored on by a driving layin by Mystics G Nikki Blue. Washington started off cold, but has picked up its play to pull within 14-9. Bird started strong for the Storm, making three of her opening four baskets. Seattle is shooting 50 percent from the field.
LOTS OF PRIDE: Storm co-owner Anne Levinson served as Grand Marshall with Governor Christine Gregoire of today’s Pride parade through downtown Seattle. It was about 90 degrees in the city and Storm CEO Karen Bryant said Levinson was well received with lots of “hooting and hollering.” Both are out lesbians along with forward Sheryl Swoopes, who came out in 2005. Swoopes said she’d do it again because she needed to get it off her chest. But she said she hasn’t read any message boards or letters regarding her decision and never expected more players to announce their sexuality because of her. “When I made the decision, I didn’t think it would be as crazy as it was. That it would blow up like it did,” said Swoopes, who won the league’s MVP title that season. “If I had to do it all again, I don’t know if I would care to do all of the interviews. There were some great things that came from it, but for me it was no big deal. If me doing it all over again is going to help somebody that might be dealing or struggling with their sexuality, then absolutely I’d do it. But if it’s not going to help anybody, no. And my advice then and now is to feel comfortable with who you are and live your life. If you want to be in the closet the rest of your life, that’s your choice. If that means you want to come out, that’s your choice, too. Ultimately, you are the one that’s going to have to deal with every issue that comes with coming out or not.”
WELCOME BACK: Former Storm assistant Jessie Kenlaw made trips back to KeyArena with Houston last season and returned again as part of the Mystics staff. She said life is good in D.C., but taking some adjusting from life in the south. Kenlaw lives downtown and doesn’t have far to commute since all of the front-office staff is now located in the Verizon Center.
Trade pick-up Camille Little could see action tonight for the Storm while reserve G Tanisha Wright will see more time at the PG position since the Storm cut rookie Kimberly Beck before contracts became guaranteed on Saturday. Starting PG Sue Bird said she’d have to “suck it up” for one game and play extended minutes, but feels she’s “in the best shape” she’s been ina long time and isn’t bothered by her career-high average 35.2 minutes.
“Brian and I have talked a lot about what’s best for me in terms of my subs and he does a good job of seeing when I need a quick blow,” Bird said.
Many onlookers are concerned because of the upcoming Olympics, where Bird is expected to be the starting PG. But because the games are centralized with no travel and the team is deep, Bird anticipates playing less while in China. Agler believes the same.
Guard play will be key against Washington as the Mystics feature a tough perimeter in Nikki Blue, Alana Beard, and Monique Currie. Coach Tree Rollins credited Blue’s play to helping the team winning four of its past five games, especially a statement win against Los Angeles on Thursday.
“Our defense is starting to pick up and we finally got a steady rotation at point guard,” Rollins said. “At the beginning of the year, we were changing the starting point guard every two games. We’re just getting comfortable with each other.”
Incidentally, Agler is now leaning toward picking up another perimeter player to help the Storm in the backcourt. Teams can sign players to 7-day contracts beginning July 1. Former Washington star Kristen O’Neill, who has been serving as a practice player since being cut during training camp, is in the mix to be added to the team.
Well, here are tonight’s starters:
F Swin Cash
F Lauren Jackson
C Yolanda Griffith
G Sheryl Swoopes
G Sue Bird
F Monique Currie
F Taj McWilliams-Franklin
C Crystal Langhorne
G Alana Beard
G Nikki Blue
Tonight’s officials are Penny Davis, James Breeding, and Eric Brewton.



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