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September 6, 2008 at 6:15 PM

Lynx game thread

TOPPING THE SONICS: With tonight’s win the Storm better the Sonics’ total wins this season. The Sonics, err Oklahoma City Thunder, finished 20-62 during the 2008-09 season. The Storm is 21-10 overall with three games remaining.
GAME OVER: The Storm won 96-88 for their franchise-high 15th victory at KeyArena. The mark surpasses the previous best of 14 set in 2005. Bird finished with 23 to lead her team, but all five starters were impressive with key baskets from Swoopes and Gearlds to help pull out what was an ugly game. Augustus led her team with 26 points and Wiggins had 16 off the bench. The Storm swept the Lynx 3-0. Now Seattle hits the road to play Sacramento on Tuesday.
PAYBACK?: A-Rob took a swipe at Wiggins, which seemed like a little payback for hurting Swoopes. The Storm players snickered in a huddled together while A-Rob walked over to the refs to say, “That was a block.” Robinson was called for the foul. The Storm is still ahead 92-83.
PLAY CONTINUES: Fans gave Swoopes a standing ovation as she was carried off the floor on a stretcher. She was taken to the training room to be tested for a concussion after taking a Wiggins elbow to the the forehead. I’m told it’s all precautionary. Bird kept the offensive fire going, nailing a jumper and a free throw to give the Storm a 90-82 lead. The crowd chanted “M-V-P!” while Bird was at the foul line. There’s 32.5 seconds remaining.
MORE ON SWOOPES: Medical staff has brought out a neck brace and are placing it on Swoopes, who has yet to move. Wiggins is holding her elbow and watching on the sideline. She’s asking her teammates if it’s “bad.” Still no movement after four minutes of stopped play.
SWOOPES HURT: Wiggins flung her arms, trying to draw a foul inside, and accidentally collided with Swoopes, who crumpled to the court. There’s a timeout with 1:10 remaining in the game and the Storm ahead 87-81. Fans are cheering for Swoopes, who is hampered by a left foot injury, but she’s not moving as trainers tend to her. They appear to be holding her neck in place, but we’ll see.
START THE CHIRPING: Bird has found her way around the slipping Minnesota defense to get some baskets to fall and keep the Storm ahead. Wright and Little are also playing well to support Bird. DeForge is keeping Minnesota close, nailing a pretty turnaround 16-footer to make the score 83-79 Seattle. Yet, Bird is doing those MVP-things again, so Gearlds can go ahead and start her marketing pitch.
AUGUSTUS BACK: Augustus is back on the court and shooting lights out. Storm leads 76-70.
BIRD IS THE WORD: Behind four points in the final 20 seconds by Bird, the Storm has taken a 68-66 lead at the end of the third quarter. KeyArena has erupted, but the noise hasn’t affected Augustus. She is out of the lineup, however, stretching out her hamstring backstage as the fourth quarter begins. Augustus, an Olympian, has 20 points on 9 of 16 shooting.
HIGH EMOTION: There’s a lot of stomping and arm flailing going on. Players are testy at the officials and each other. At one point Wiggins asked Bird to admit she touched a ball that was ruled to Seattle, but Wiggins felt should be there’s. “No, I didn’t!” Bird said, smiling while Wiggins continued to shake her head “No.”
ALL TIED: Rookie Candice Wiggins is giving funky looks as an aggressive Seattle has worked its way to the free throw line and back into this game. Behind 5-for-6 shooting at the line by Cash, Bird, and Little, the Storm has tied the game at 57 points apiece. The tying bucket was created by Swoopes, who stepped into the Lynx passing lane for a pick and then dished to Little, who wove her way to a layin. There’s 3:54 remaining in the quarter.
DROUGHT OVER: Reserve Katie Gearlds wants to be Bird’s campaign manager for MVP, but that marketing may need to be put on ice. Bird just hit her first FG of the game — her signature jumper off a steal she created. Bird is 1 of 6 from the field for six points and the Storm is down 57-53 with 4:19 remaining in the third quarter.
OLYMPIC OVATION: The KeyArena crowd just gave a standing ovation to Olympians Jillian Penner (synchronized swimming), Lindsay Meyer (rowing) and Lia Pernell (rowing), who are in attendance tonight.
LITTLE RUN: The Storm is still down six, but with the help of Little, Seattle made enough of a run to force Minnesota to call a timeout. The Storm used scroing from Little, and Griffith to piece together a 6-0 spurt and move within 52-46. The post players are being more aggressive inside, but Bird is still having trouble with Harding.
IT’S GOOD: With Bird hounding her, Harding raced down the court with seconds left in the second quarter, making a strong layin as the horn sounded. The basket gave Minnesota a 46-35 lead. Minnesota is using hot shooting and impressive defense to hold the Storm down. Bird is 0-for-4 from the field and Cash’s shooting has cooled. The Storm are even in rebounding with the Lynx (16). Their key to winning this season has been defense and rebounding the ball, which they haven’t done to their capability tonight. The Storm is 14-3 when outrebounding their opponents.
FELX IT BABY: Vincent was just introduced to the KeyArena crowd. Wearing a green ruffled halter top, she flexed her deltoid and triceps muscles for the crowd. The rippling physique is worth the price of admission alone. Way to keep the pounds off Vincent!
BIG 100: Storm C Ashley Robinson just deflected Charde Houston’s shot for her 100th career block. The Storm is still trying to get back into the game, though, trailing 37-29 with 2:55 remaining in the half.
CASH ONLY: Perhaps KeyArena shouldn’t have irked Minnesota with their Tom Jones “Pussycat” tribute song prior to the game because the Lynx have their claws on Bird (isn’t the way of nature, anyway?), keeping the Olympian scoreless from the field with 4:13 remaining in the half. But Cash has her former college roommate’s back, hitting 3 of 6 field goals for 10 points. The Storm is still a little ragged, however, trailing 37-27 with 37.5 percent shooting overall.
END OF FIRST: It’s been hard for the Storm to find their focus to open games lately. In Chicago, they had 10 turnovers and the team accounted for six tonight, allowing the Lynx to build a 24-18 lead. Coach Z spoke about holding the Storm shooting down and they did (40 percent) while shooting 57.1 percent themselves in the quarter. DeForge led, making all four of her attempts for 10 points.
OPRAH AND SUE?: It was announced during the Chicago-Seattle game that Bird tapped a segment for the Oprah show airing Monday where the talk show host invited 176 Olympians to be featured on the program. But Storm PR said Bird was definitely not at the taping while in Chicago. Supposedly Sky center Sylvia Fowles was along with NBA star Chris Paul, who won gold for the men’s Team USA. Bummer for Bird, but at least he WNBA will finally be spotlighted on the widely popular show. In 1996 Oprah was going to have those Olympians on the show, but some snag prevented that from happening, if I remember correctly.
No, Minnesota didn’t forget to bring its road uniforms, forcing Seattle to wear its road gear at KeyArena. The Storm went green, literally, with the green uniforms and inviting a bunch of mascots to help demonstrate recycling and being environmentally conscientious. They also gave away reusable green ChicoBags.
It’s actually a celeb-studded night with U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell and reality television star Ali Vincent from “The Biggest Loser” in the house. Vincent, I’m told, is actually a long-time Storm fan who wanted to checkout a game this season. Cantwell, friends of the team’s ownership group, has been a supporter of the team for years as well.
It’s time for folks to start jumping on the Storm bandwagon anyway. With the postseason fast approaching, fans are looking at standings and thinking matchups. Seattle is in pursuit of home-court advantage throughout the playoffs and currently is tied with San Antonio and Connecticut for that honor. Both the Silver Stars and Sun own the head-to-head tiebreakers for the Western title and homecourt in the Finals, if the teams were to finish in a tie or meet in the postseason.
So, the best the Storm can do is take care of themselves, place second for home-court in the opening round and that effort begins with tonight’s game against Minnesota. Lynx coach Don Zierden spoke of Seattle’s experience and how the game will be tough for his squad, but they’re trying to clinch a berth, too, making things interesting.
Here’s tonight’s starters :
F Swin Cash
F Camille Little
C Yolanda Griffith
G Tanisha Wright
G Sue Bird
F Seimone Augustus
F Nicole Ohlde
C Nicky Anosike
G Anna DeForge
G Lindsey Harding
Tonight’s officials are Sue Blauch, Roy Gulbeyan, and Penny Davis.



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