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September 3, 2009 at 3:55 PM

Game thread: Seattle at Washington

STORM LOSES: Seattle’s six-game win streak is over, dropping a 78-67 decision to Washington. Currie went off in the second half, shooting 3 of 3 for 10 of her final 17 points in the fourth. The Storm was outscored 23-14 in the quarter, committing eight turnovers and only hitting two FGs in the final 5:11. You thought the New York game was ugly for three quarters, well this one topped that. Officiating was bad and Bird joked with Orender about it after the game, saying “Don’t worry I won’t tweet about it.” Of course Bird doesn’t have a Twitter account. No one in the Storm locker room wanted to get fined, so they left the refs out of their conversation. Agler was tagged for a tech with 2:24 remaining in the second, saying official Kevin Sparrock allowed him to ask a question “Apparently I asked too many,” said Agler who has been tagged for five this season at about $250 a pop. Seattle remains in second, but needs a win to lock themselves in at the position. That’ll have to wait until possibly Saturday at Minnesota. Only the Lynx will be just as hungry as the Mystics, playing for their postseason lives.
BURSE OUT: JB fouled out with 9:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. She’s had an awful stretch, going scoreless against New York on Tuesday and finishing with one point with three rebounds tonight. Seattle down 57-53 with 8:41 left in the game.
DIGITS: There have been a combined 39 fouls called and 33 turnovers. Washington up 55-52 with 21.1 seconds remaining in the third.
WALKER IN: Well, we mentioned the post foul trouble and that put rookie Ashley Walker in the game. Coleman is taking advantage, hitting a breakaway layin. But Cash responded with an old-school three-point play. Batkovic-Brown (four) and Burse (five) have to sit due to foul trouble. Again, Seattle lucky to be within 53-52 with 1:38 remaining in the third quarter.
MANN DOWN: In a fast break play, reserve Kristin Mann went down hard, but eventually got up. She was tagged for a foul against Cash, who made the ensuing free throws. Seattle up 46-43 with 4:20 remaining in the third.
SPICY CURRIE: Well, a 9-3 run for the Storm to take the lead was dampened by Currie’s steal and layin. Seattle teetering with a 44-40 advantage with 5:56 remaining. Wright has five points during the run.
AT THE HALF: The Storm squeaked out a 7-3 spurt to inch within 35-33 at the break. G Shannon Johnson’s three-pointer with 42 seconds on the clock was a big help in getting Seattle out of the muck. But Seattle is continuing its trend of playing sloppy basketball. Part you can blame on Jackson not being in the lineup, yet some are simply bad passes. It probably won’t matter. Seattle is close and defending well enough to pull out a victory. Both teams are shooting 44 percent from the field. They’ve combined for 27 turnovers in the half and the high-scorer for both teams is nine points apiece for Bird, Ajavon, and Coleman.
AUSSIE BREAKTHROUGH: With her mom sitting near the Storm bench, Batkovic-Brown is finally playing like you’d expect an Aussie Olympian to play. She has seven, but three personal fouls. Seattle down 34-28 with 1:24 left in the half.
TURTTLE CONTINUES: A three-pointer by Coleman made the Mystics run 13-2. Seattle hasn’t scored a FG since the 8:15 mark for nearly a five-minute drought. But Batkovic-Brown finally hit a three-pointer out of the timeout to pull Seattle within 32-26 with 3:14 on the clock.
FEAR THE TURTTLE: Seattle is a good elixir for Coleman. She had 13 in the loss at Seattle and tonight she’s continuing her streak of solid play with a block at the top of the key against Bird. She then chased Ajavon down court and when her teammate missed on the fast break layin, Coleman was there for the putback. Seattle is down 27-23 with 4:35 left in the first half.
POST PROBLEM: Would have thought the Storm could have taken advantage of the interior against the smaller Mystics, but they are getting tagged for fouls inside. And when that isn’t happening, Melvin is getting blocks. But one block that Currie had should have stuck. Instead, a double foul was called that is actually an even worse call. Are you watching this Orender? Indecision led to a jump ball and Seattle retained possession. But, unable to make a basket, Wright caught a rebound in the corner and Agler quickly called a timeout. Mystics lead 25-21 with 5:57 remaining in the half.
END OF FIRST: Bird’s long jump shot with 8.0 seconds left in the first tied the score at 17 points apiece. Seattle is still sloppy with the ball with eight turnovers. But the Mystics have six miscues to balance the problem. Ajavon’s three-point shooting off screens has hurt Seattle. She leads Washington with nine while Bird has nine for the Storm. Rutgers versus UConn, y’all.
CASHING IN: Loving the matchup with Cash and rookie Marissa Coleman. Cash has walked down her defender for a smooth jumper twice this quarter. Definite highlight material. Seattle has four turnovers to start, but looks more lively than they did in New York. Seattle up 14-10 with 3:08 remaining.
QUICK CHANGE: Storm coach Brian Agler didn’t like the way Burse was running the court, making a quick sub for Suzy Batkovic-Brown. The Aussie quickly scored inside for a 7-0 Seattle run. The Storm leads 9-5 with 6:23 remaining in the opening quarter.
SPOTTED: Caron Butler of the NBA’s Wizards is seated near the Storm bench.
The Verizon Center holds positive memories for the Storm whether it was the WNBA All-Star game or forward Lauren Jackson’s career-high 47-point night. But things will be different today.
Seattle is playing its fourth game without Jackson (back) and Mystics All-Star Alana Beard is not dressed to play due to a sprained left ankle. Beard, who will not start, has not practiced since tweaking her right ankle against Seattle last week.
The player’s absence may change the dynamics of the game, but not the purpose. The Storm still wants to catch Phoenix for the top seed in the Western Conference while the Mystics are simply trying to secure a playoff position.
WNBA president Donna Orender is in the house, continuing the league’s campaign with the PGA for “Play Golf America.” For the second consecutive season, the two leagues are offering game-day experiences featuring free golf instruction from local PGA and LPGA pros at select WNBA games.
Seattle is looking for a franchise-tying seventh win. The mark, which would tie last season’s run, would clinch at least second in the West for the Storm. That assures home-court in the opening round, but Seattle has lost in the opening round with this perk before. Anyone remember Houston 2005? Or, well, we’re not there, yet.
For today, it’s all about playoff jockeying. It may not be pretty, but it all about the win. So, let’s get to it.
Here are your starting lineups:
MYSTICS
F Crystal Langhorne
F Monique Currie
C Chasity Melvin
G Matee Ajavon
G Lindsey Harding
STORM
F Swin Cash
F Janell Burse
C Camille Little
G Tanisha Wright
G Sue Bird
Tonight’s officials are Michael Price, Felicia Grinter, and Kevin Sparrock.

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