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July 9, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Game thread: Sacramento at Seattle

STORM WINS: Everyone played quality minutes and contributed in some area, whether it be Wright’s three blocks, Bird’s seven assists, or Cash’s game-leading 18 points. Seattle won 66-55 before 6,838 fans — the smallest crowd yet at the Key. Jackson said it was just an average game, however, because the team wants to “really dominate” their opponents. And no one cares about the 15-game regular-season home win streak. True, you want to win at home and steal on the road, but Seattle has bigger plans. Gotta like that.
SPOTTED: Former Storm F Sheri Sam received a big applause when introduced. Sam is BFFs with Johnson and in Seattle for an extended visit. Also in town is Australian coach Carrie Graf, a former Storm assistant.
BIG TIME: Everybody wants to play and one way to make everyone happy is to build a big lead so the reserves can get on the court, right? Well, the Storm has done that and it has allowed the bigs to get some needed time on the floor. Now Ashley Robinson is in the game. Wondering why Jackson, Cash, Bird, and Wright are still playing with Seattle up 66-51 with 1:12 remaining.
BATGIRL: C Suzy Batkovic-Brown joked that she finally knows what day it is and is on the right time schedule, traveling from Europe to Australia for her wedding and then to Seattle to join the Storm on a three-game road trip out east. She’s playing, getting a minute at the end of the third quarter. The Key gave her a loud applause when she popped off the bench. Seattle ends the quarter up 57-39.
SEEING PARIS: Paris blocked someone her own size in Burse. She’s looking like the Oklahoma star I admired. You knew it would take her a minute to get adjusted to the faster pro game and new teammates. This is a coming out game for her as she has eight points and six boards with a couple of blocks. But Storm is doing their job, holding onto a 54-37 lead with 1:31 left in the third.
TOO FAR: Apparently KeyArena wanted to “Go Green.” The scoreboard ring around the arena is frozen. Storm still dominating, 47-33 with 5:00 remaining in the third quarter.
COOL CLIP: Hope you didn’t jet to the restroom, ESPN2 showed some cool clips of former Storm coach Anne Donovan (New York assistant) playing back in the day at Old Dominion. The “Legends of Our Game” also spoke of her winning a championship in Seattle, the only woman to win a WNBA title.
AUSSIE DISH: Sacramento was on a roll, then Jackson collected a steal and dribbled down court, handing off to a trailing Wright for a layin. It’s the Aussie’s first assist of the game and the play puts the Storm up 38-26 with 14.2 seconds left in the half.
ALL-DECADE: The Storm unveiled its All-Decade team and, by applause, it seems the KeyArena crowd approved. I don’t like the selection of current Atlanta F Iziane Castro Marques, but the others are Bird, F Adia Barnes, G Tully Bevilaqua (Indiana), Burse, Cash, Simone Edwards, Jackson, Betty Lennox (Los Angeles) and C Kamila Vodichkova. Storm up 31-16 with 3:31 remaining in the half.
MISMATCH: Agler found a way to get more minutes for Burse and she’s making good with the time on the court. Sacramento was forced to call a timeout after the 6-foot-5 center posted up on Penicheiro (5-11), spun around and laid in the ball to put the Storm ahead 31-15 with 6:07 left in the half.
AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE: She’s taken a couple of herd tumbles to the court, but Jackson got revenge by sticking a three-pointer in Crystal Kelly’s face. The bucket, plus a three-pointer from Katie Gearlds, put the Storm up 25-15 with 7:44 remaining.
BLOCK THAT!: OK, when a 6-foot-4 player blocks one dubbed PeeWee, you can’t make that big of a deal. But Courtney Paris’ block against Shannon Johnson with 1:41 remaining in the first quarter was pretty sweet. Sacramento closed on a mini 4-2 run to pull within 18-12 at the end of the first. Cash is still rolling strong for Seattle, leading with nine. Jackson is 1-of-2 from the field and looking livelier than Tuesday.
SECOND THOUGHT: Mentioned the slightly smaller crowd and had a second thought, maybe peeps decided to cut down on their carbon footprint has part of the Storm’s “Go Green” night. I thought about it (smile).
SMOKIN’: Man, I wish Wright could have got a handle on Bird’s behind-the-back touch pass in transition, but the Storm is full of classic plays in the opening half to build a 14-6 lead. So much for looking bad on national TV. Seattle is shooting 62.5 percent from the field and holding Sacramento to zero second-chance shots. Storm leads 14-8 with 3:14 remaining in the opening quarter.
I’m extremely late today so we’re going to get right to it. One beginning note is Storm coach Brian Agler said he’s not changing his starting lineup tonight, having success with a three-guard lineup to win against Sacramento in the opening two games of the season.
“But we obviously have that in our minds that we can go that way,” he said.
Sacramento did make a change as G Kara Lawson continues to rehab back from a knee injury, putting Scholanda Robinson in with the opening five. Robinson and Ticha Penicheiro also play well in disrupting PG Sue Bird on defense.
The crowd is sparse considering the Storm’s first four games. Perhaps the 6 p.m. start and traffic. Doppler is late to the arena, after all. Or it could be that folks have decided to chill and watch ESPN2’s coverage.
Either way, here’s your starting lineups:
F Nicole Powell
F Rebekkah Brunson
C DeMya Walker
G Ticha Penicheiro
G Scholanda Robinson
F Swin Cash
F Lauren Jackson
C Camille Little
G Sue Bird
G Tanisha Wright
Tonight’s officials are Clarke Stevens, Cameron Inouye, and Eric Brewton.



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