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August 18, 2009 at 4:17 PM

Game thread: Seattle at Detroit

STORM WINS: Of course it was an awkward finish with lots of sill mistakes late, like a lane violation by A-Rob, but she and Walker went bouncing to the sideline, happy about the win. Seattle clinched it 79-75 at The Palace of Auburn Hills. They finished the road trip at 1-2 and return home for a four-game stretch. Jackson had a season-high 36 points on 14 of 24 shooting. Bird had six assists and Cash had a great line with 15 points, seven boards, and six assist. The Storm had 22 assists on 25 made FGs.
AUSSIE SWIPE: Jackson surprisingly found herself with the ball, dribbling down court to dish to Bird for a jumper to put Seattle ahead 75-71. Detroit answered with two made free throws, but rookie Zellous was tagged with a foul putting Shannon Johnson at the line. She made both of the shots to put Seattle up 77-73 with 21.4 remaining. Seattle very composed. And should be, they’ve only played a million close games this season.
TIE GAME: The Shock tied the game at 67 points apiece on an old school three-point play by McWilliams, who was fouled by Little (fifth). Jackson hit a three-pointer to put Seattle back ahead. She has 35 points — a season high.
TWEET THIS: Nolan (Tweety) charged over right in front of me and smacked the scorer’s table hard, getting tagged for a technical with 5:22 left. Problem. Little already made the basket on the foul. It was a four-point possession for Seattle because Little made the ensuing free throw and Jackson made the tech FT. Seattle up 67-62 with 4:45 left.
MS. JACKSON: The Aussie is getting nasty with back-to-back three-pointers to pull Seattle ahead 63-56. Smith missed a key, possible tying trey and then Jackson started her heroics. Seattle still needs to play solid defense down the stretch to put this game away, though. Jackson has 32 points on 13 of 22 shooting with seven boards, tying her total against LA in June.
BURSE HURT: Storm players are giving the officials an evil eye as Burse is left on the floor, covering her left eye and crying. She was going for an offensive rebound and no foul was called. Seattle leads 57-53 with 7:36 remaining in the game. Robinson checked in for Burse.
SO ZEALLOUS: The rookie is making and impact, hitting back-to-back baskets against Seattle’s zone and forcing a turnover to help the Shock pull within 57-53 with 7:54 left in the game.
LAST TAG: Wright was called for her fifth foul. They’re already depleted in the backcourt and this makes it worse. Cash is checking back in, but Agler may go to Walker after all. Seattle leads 53-48 after Nolan’s two made free throws
ANSWER THAT: Storm back up 46-36 with 3:21 remaining in the third after beautiful plays by Cash and Jackson. Cash had a spinning layin off a feed by Bird with 4:08 on the clock and Jackson made a traditional shot underneath the basket off a feed from Bird.
AFTERSHOCK: Burse was called for an offensive foul and Seattle is getting walked down in a 13-0 run to pull Detroit within 38-34. Seattle was called for two turnovers and two fouls that killed their offensive possessions. On defense, Detroit is just more aggressive in running its schemes with the other four starters starting to melt the shooting ice. There’s 6:17 remaining in the third quarter after Seattle called time.
HOLD UP: Smith nailed a three-pointer, her first bucket of the night, and Agler called time. Coaching her all the way back to her ABL days, he’s seen this before and isn’t going to let it get started — again. Seattle was a little laxed compared to the opening half. They should know better after the rough two weeks they’ve had. Storm leads 38-26 with 9:07 remaining in the third quarter.
HALFTIME: Storm played the best defense I’ve seen in a while, leading 38-21 at the break. Jackson leads all scorers with 17 points while Nolan is the only Detroit starter to hit a bucket, shooting 4 of 11 for 10 points. The Shock is shooting 26.7 percent overall.
LITTLE OUT: Falling to the court to gather a loose ball, Little was tagged with her fourth foul. Bad call, but it’s done. More minutes for Burse, who already has three points and four boards in nine minutes. Little played 11 minutes, no points. Seattle up 36-21 with 2.9 left in the half.
CASH BLOCK: Rookie Shavonte Zellous just gotta swatted by Cash. One of those, ahem, smacks that should be a ESPN highlight. Seattle is up 32-16 with 2:20 remaining in half.
PUMP IT: Bird is pumping her first so it’s on, again. This could be Seattle’s breakthrough. It is for the opening half, at least. The Storm is on 15-2 run and leads 29-12 with 4:18 remaining in the half.
BARRELING BURSE: JB checked into the game and is furthering the havoc inside the paint for Detroit. She whipped right around Ford for a layin to make the score 21-10 and Mahorn again called time. There’s 7:20 remaining in the second quarter. Detroit is shooting 21.1 percent with seven turnovers.
SPOTTED: Detroit would have to make cuts in order to make any moves, but former Oklahoma star Ashley Paris, who was cut by Los Angeles, is seated baseline and former Shock Barb Farris is at the other end watching the game. Seattle up 14-6 with 30 seconds left in opening quarter.
GET ZELLOUS: Detroit is shooting a horrid 2 of 12 from the field. But the Storm is only up 12-6 after a driving layin by Cash. Good defense by Seattle.
THUNDER STORM: Detroit was forced to call a timeout after Seattle jumped out to a 8-2 lead with 6:48 remaining. There’s a blaze of fire in the player’s eyes and I don’t see any mistakes. They are fighting on defense, with Jackson getting a block and Little collecting a charge and big rebound. Cash, who Agler talked to yesterday about not pushing too hard, nailed her first shot and looks comfortable.
Storm rookie Ashley Walker is on the court warming up with the team and could possibly play tonight after missing the past 14 matchups due to an injured right toe.
Walker, who starred at California, was transitioning from the power forward to small forward position prior to suffering the injury. Because she plays along the perimeter and that’s where Seattle is thin, coach Brian Agler is leaning toward using the inexperienced player.
The trade deadline passed on Monday and the Storm, long stating they like their team, balked on making any moves. Agler does want to get players more rest and recognizes mental errors like the rash of turnovers lately. But he contends the players can work this out.
Seattle still has a two-game lead on second place in the Western Conference despite going 5-5 in its past 10 games, including losing the past two games. Detroit is in a similar situation, 2.5-games out of the fourth and final playoff seed in the East. The Shock (9-13) has lost their past two and is 5-5 in their past 10.
But, due to G Katie Smith, the Shock hasn’t had trouble against Seattle. She scored 16 points in the second half of the inaugural meeting at KeyArena to help Detroit win 66-63. The Shock is 5-3 all-time against the Storm at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
In a continual effort to battle injuries and get some wins, GM Cheryl Reeve traded Kristin Haynie to Sacramento in exchange for F Crystal Kelly. And the Shock signed PG Nikki Teasley earlier. Shock coach Rick Mahorn said both should see action tonight.
“I see two hungry teams,” Storm coach Brian Agler said.
Well, let’s get to the feast, then. Here are your starting lineups:
STORM
F Swin Cash
F Lauren Jackson
C Camille Little
G Tanisha Wright
G Sue Bird
SHOCK
F Katie Smith
F Taj McWilliams
C Cheryl Ford
G Alexis Hornbuckle
G Deanna Nolan
Tonight’s officials are Daryl Humphrey, Scott Twardoski, and June Courteau.

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