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August 28, 2008 at 6:43 PM

Comets game thread

STORM WINS: The Storm improved to 4-2 without Jackson, defeating the Comets 66-49. It wasn’t great as only Bird scored in double figures with a game-high 22. She had zero assists, leaving that to Wright, who had five.
LYTTLE HURT: F Sancho Lyttle was smashed by Yolanda Griffith on a play with 6:11 remaining the game, drawing a foul but unable to get off the court on her own. She smacked the court several times and wallowed in pain, limping off with an apparent hurt left leg. She was carried to the visitor’s locker room. She had 10 points and 10 rebounds and was solidifying my pick for Sixth Woman of the Year or Most Improved. Storm leads 58-40.
GAME OVER: Is this Team USA? The Storm is up 52-34 and Houston looks nothing like the team that won five consecutive games prior to the break. The loss of Hamchetou Maiga-Ba (ankle) hurts, but didn’t think it would be this much. Can’t even say it’s the KeyArena crowd, since the score has them socializing amongst themselves. And it’s not like the Storm is lights out. Bird has 20 points, but no other player has more than six points. We’ll see if the Comets can find a pulse in the final quarter.
POURING IT ON: Yeah, the Storm worked hard during the break. The bench came in and added one of the biggest sparks of the season, helping the Storm take a 38-24 lead into the break following a jumper by Shyra Ely and another three-pointer by Bird. The Comets are making tacky mistakes and can’t get a basket to fall. Thompson glanced over at press row with a pissy look that froze the water in my bottle. The Jet City dogs are the halftime entertainment.
FIRST SHOT: Bird’s still hitting threes, so it almost doesn’t matter. But Thompson is on the board, making her first basket with 7:27 remaining in the half. A fan rubbed it in belting, “Hey Tina! This ain’t China is it?” Thompson was Team USA’s second-leading scorer (12.8), leading the Americans in points in three of the eight matchups. Storm leads 26-17 with 5:33 remaining in the second quarter.
BIRD’S THE WORD: Bird is playing like it’s Beijing. She nailed back-to-back buckets, one a three-pointer to help the Storm close out the first quarter with a 18-11 lead. The Storm is doubling and tripling Thompson, limiting her to two attempts, making none, in 10 minutes. The Comets are shooting 23.5 percent overall (4 for 17). The Storm isn’t any hotter (35 percent), but their defense is as if they never had a break.
CASHING IN: Cash just checked in with 5:04 remaining in the first quarter. Storm is up 9-2 with Hodges scoring the Comets’ opening basket.
STRONG START: The Storm was 0 for 4 from the field to open the game, but with 6:16 remaining in the opening quarter, they haven’t allowed Houston to score and lead 7-0. It’s dicey, expected with a monthlong break. Wright is making plays and Little is still muscling her way inside for rebounds and put backs.
It’s been a minute since I’ve done one of these, so excuse any rust. I am happy the Storm is back. Congrats to Team USA and all for winning gold, but I only like watching competitive basketball and the Olympics were a huge disappointment (and yes, I realize the Aussies were injured). The only rise I got was that pseudo dunk Candace Parker almost had at the end of the gold-medal game against Australia. I was ripped by a friend for saying this, but I’m glad she’s attempted the shot — although the rookie needs to learn not to rush. Six seconds is a long time to pull it off. My friend thought it was poor sportsmanship, but I say bump that! It’s the Olympics and on that stage you go hard until the final horn because it’ll take four years for you to be back — if you’re so lucky.
Anyway, WNBA play is back and it’ll be full of drama, especially out West. Storm coach Brian Agler released his starters and thankfully I don’t have to shave my head, G Sue Bird is starting. But her former college teammate Swin Cash is not. Agler played it off as G Tanisha Wright being “a starter all season” and wanting Cash to catch-up from her missing practice over the Olympic hiatus. If you’ll recall, Cash had a cortisone shot in her lower back and choose to take the fine/benching to broadcast the Olympic women’s basketball games for NBC from their studios in New York instead of rehabbing in Seattle.
If she’s pulled from the lineup to catch-up, that’s basically a benching right? Agler said it’s a game-by-game situation.
KeyArena is starting to fill up and the public announcer already gave props to Olympians Kelly Santos (Brazil), Jackson, and Americans Bird and Tina Thompson (Houston). Let’s get rolling.
Here’s tonight’s starting lineups:
STORM
F Sheryl Swoopes
F Camille Little
C Yolanda Griffith
G Tanisha Wright
G Sue Bird
COMETS
F Tina Thompson
F Roneeka Hodges
C Michelle Snow
G Tamecka Dixon
G Shannon Johnson
Tonight’s officials are Kurt Walker, Shelley Nakasone, Scott Twardoski.

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