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September 24, 2008 at 5:03 PM

Storm tales: The day after

So, y’all apparently didn’t need me to blog during the game. By the posts I read, you were on fire on your own. One little thing to add from F Lauren Jackson, however. The KeyArena audio system didn’t work for most of the game due to a fire alarm being tripped, and Jackson said the only other time that’s happened was against Connecticut — the Storm’s only other loss at home.
I don’t remember that, honestly I love the old-school touch of no sound at all because I thought the game was supposed to be in the entertainment, not contortionists being flipped like pancakes and p.a.-led cheers — but that’s just me.
Today was an odd day. The consensus, obviously, is that had Jackson been healthy, the Storm would have won the championship. Aside from lining up a videogame breakdown of that scenario, though, we’ll never know. But the team was playful, though calm, in exit interviews with the media. Well, aside from Storm F Swin Cash telling us (again) that we did a poor job covering C Yolanda Griffith, the leader of the pack.
“Stuff needs to stop being a popularity contest,” Cash said of, I’m guessing, the all-Defensive and Defensive Player of the Year awards. “Be about the game and people that get it done. As her teammate, I want to give her the credit for being the focal point and anchor of our defense this year.”
I did vote for [enter boos here] Lisa Leslie as DPOY, but the all-Defensive team is up to the coaches. So, Cash’s wrath should be directed at them.
While more tears were shed, the funniest moment of the season that still had players laughing today actually happened during the postseason. Do you have time for a story? Well, sit back like G Sue Bird and read this one as told to me by Kelly Santos [the main character] and Bird [surprise blabbermouth]:
So, the Storm left early for Los Angeles last week, wanting to get into the playoff mindset. Since the team already practiced in Seattle, the players were free to do as they pleased upon landing in the city. Santos connected with her Brazilian friends, catching the Latina Festival, hanging out, having a good time.
When she was done hanging, she checked into the Manhattan Beach hotel where the Storm normally stays. She approached the desk with a bright smile, said she needed her key and when asked if she needed another, she replied “Yes,” because F Kristen O’Neill usually stays with her.
“No, you have your own room, but it does have two beds,” the clerk replies.
“I think to [myself], I must thank the coach [Brian Agler] for sure,” Santos told media today. “I was in room 404 and I sleep very well, watch some movies and I woke up at 9 a.m. I got my nails done — nobody knows that — and I told the girl, ‘Can you do my nails quick because at 12:30, we leave for practice.'”
Completely manicured and rested, Santos returns to the Manhattan Beach hotel and looks for the equipment manager to get her clothes for practice. Danielle Yellam says she’s in room 407.
“She knocks on room 407 and Danielle is not there,” Bird told the media. “Kelly goes back to her room and calls Danielle and says, ‘Danielle, I’m trying to get my clothes. Where are you?’ Danielle’s like, ‘I’m in my room!’ Danielle waits in her room and doesn’t hear anything and Kelly calls again.”
“D, you’re not in the room, I’m right outside the door,” Santos told the media of what she said on the cell phone.
“Kelly, the door is open and you’re not here,” Yellam said in the doorway of room 407.
Yellam clicks the problem and asks, “What hotel are you at?”
“I was at the Marriott,” Santos said. The Storm stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey. Santos checks her travel sheet and realizes her snafu.
In a panic, Santos rushed down to the front desk, told them she needed a taxi because in 17 minutes the team bus was leaving for practice. The woman, wondering how that happened, told Santos no problem and that she didn’t have to pay — “your team will pay for you.” With no time to ask what team, Santos called Agler, professing how “sorry” she was. Agler, in his normal calm way said, “No, it’s OK, it’ll be fine.”
She arrived on time at the Ritz-Carlton, but Santos’ teammates only knew she was at the wrong hotel that morning. Until Bird turned investigative reporter.
“Everybody kept asking me things, asking me, asking me and I tried not to say anything about where I slept,” Santos told the media.
“Yeah, cause we’re like, ‘Kristen, why didn’t you help her?'” Bird told the media. “And Kristen said, ‘No, she stayed with her friend.'”
Bird quickly turned to Santos and teases, “Oh, Kelly, you stayed with your friend?”
“No, I stayed at the Marriott,” Santos said of her sheepish reply. “And they all laughed. I have to write a book.”
When I asked what team was actually staying at the Marriott to cause the mix-up, Bird gave a quizzical look.
“Somebody at the Marriott needs to get fired,” she said.



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