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May 30, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Game thread: Seattle at San Antonio

STORM WINS: Best stat was brought to my attention by Agler — Storm starters account for two turnovers in defeating the Silver Stars 84-56 on Sunday. Personally, this just means Tuesday’s game on ESPN2 between Seattle (5-1) and Atlanta (5-0) is going to be a barnburner. Clearly San Antonio doesn’t have the chemistry to face Seattle, so it’s good for the Storm to pick up the victory before they do. But the Silver Stars also need better post play, an asset on Seattle’s bench. The Dream? They have a ferocious lineup that can balance the Storm’s attack like Chicago did. We’ll see. The Dream does play LA tonight at 5 p.m. PST. As for Sunday, Jackson led with a game-high 27-points and Cash added 14 with eight rebounds. Bird had nine with six assists. Hodges led her team off the bench with 12 points. Darling was the only San Antonio starter to play in the fourth quarter.
BENCH IN: For a second consecutive game, the bench will see extended minutes. And this time it’s not because the starters are so awful, Agler is forced to try other options. After a layin by Bishop, Seattle leads 81-49 with 4:12 remaining in the game. Brondello benched her starters long ago and former Storm G Roneeka Hodges appeared as if she might go off, but Seattle made sure that didn’t happen.
STILL SEARCHING: San Antonio is 1-for-6 from the field in the third quarter, getting outscored 20-8. They’ve switched defenses and put the bench in, but nothing is getting the offense to really click. The only way San Antonio is scoring is by fouling an aggressive Storm.
WE HAVE A PROBLEM: Uh, the Silver Stars are getting outscored 11-0 to open the third quarter. They’ve had three turnovers and four missed shots to fall behind 63-30 with 6:07 left in the third quarter.
HALFTIME: The Storm is taking a whopping 52-30 lead into the break. Jackson leads all scorers with 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field. Seattle is shooting 57.1 percent from the field, getting a lot of momentum off its defense. The Storm forced eight turnovers, scoring nine points and is limiting the Silver Stars to 13 of 30 shooting (43.3 percent). Holdsclaw and Young have eight points apiece to pace San Antonio. But the Silver Stars aren’t able to get a shot off against the Storm’s defense. Expect adjustments at the break.
SPOTTED: Spurs legend David Robinson is seated courtside. Eyes popped when Holdsclaw hit a Kobe-esque turnaround jumper while covered well by Cash. Storm up 44-25 with 2:24 before halftime.
NO ZONE: San Antonio broke out a zone, but Wright hit a three-pointer and a pretty layin where she stepped right through the defense to score. But back-to-back buckets by the Silver Stars and a Bird turnover had Agler upset. He called a timeout with the team ahead 31-19 with 7:15 remaining in the second quarter.
HOT START: Seattle is taking advantage of the San Antonio’s interior and is finding the same holes as New York. The Storm has outscored the Silver Stars 14-6 in the paint and is grabbing 11 boards to their eight, shooting 50 percent from the field in the opening quarter. The Storm leads 25-15 headed into the second quarter.
NEW LOOKS: Jackson and reserve C Ashley Robinson are sporting new looks. Jackson is going red after eight years as a blond while Robinson has a faux-hawk that is really chic. “She gave me a head’s up so I wasn’t surprised today,” Agler said. “I know how women are, they like to change their look and keep people on their toes.”
READY, SET: The Storm is rolling out of the gate. Aside from the LA game and maybe Phoenix, I don’t think we’ve seen this kind of energy to start the game. Seattle is shooting 50 percent from the field and leading the rebound battle 6-3. Seattle leads 13-8 with 4:49 remaining in the opening quarter.
HEY BOU: Jenny Boucek, the Storm’s director of player development and scouting is with the team on the bench. Seattle isn’t violating any 15-max travel party rules, however. Boucek paid her own way because of the number of friends she has in the city–including Brondello and her husband. Boucek said it won’t happen often because flights are too expensive.
SURVEY SAYS?: “Hate it,” said Brooks on officials’ feel about the new uniforms. The look features orange patches on the shoulders and a cream-colored chest. It’s moved fans to call them candy corn and creamsicles. Brooks just feels like she’s ready to trick-or-treat. What? Don’t officials do that with their calling, anyway (smile).
Storm coach Brian Agler missed his team’s practice on Saturday, traveling to his Ohio home to be present for his son’s graduation open-house. Assistant Nancy Darsch handled the session, walking the players through finer points of the breakdown in Chicago and watching plenty of tape — some that Agler analyzed before leaving.
All in preparation for Sunday’s game against the San Antonio Silver Stars (2-2)
“It’s been a while since I’ve been in charge of a whole days worth of activities,” said Darsch, a former head coach at New York (1997-98) and Washington (1999). “They were very helpful and they were patient. I think we got some things done without getting too much activity for a 2 p.m. (CST) start Sunday.”
Darsch lost 50 bucks, too. Doing the traditional halfcourt shot contest after practice, a second round cleared the way for All-Star Swin Cash to make the shot. She called it, too.
“I couldn’t do $100 like Brian,” Darsch teased.
Rebounding and defense are focuses of the afternoon for both teams. In a loss to New York, San Antonio gave up 20 second-chance shots. The Liberty also outscored the Silver Stars 36-28 inside the paint.
Seattle’s starters were pulled from a road loss to Chicago after never getting the offense clicking and watching the Sky on defense. The Storm (4-1) once trailed by 19 points and shot 39.4 percent in the game while the previously winless Sky was near perfect at 49.1 percent.
San Antonio added six-time All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw and is led by first-year coach Sandy Brondello, a former Storm guard who won two Olympic silver medals with Storm star Lauren Jackson.
“We’re still in the process of learning how to play with each other,” Brondello said. “It’s hard because we’ve got a few banged up players. So, it’s hard to get that time on the court with the key players. Chamique will definitely make us a better team, now we just need to keep working on the things we need to.”
All-Star Becky Hammon doesn’t practice due to a pulled groin while All-Star Sophia Young has a nagging knee injury. Even Holdsclaw isn’t completely ready, missing training camp due to a trade request and still needing to get into game shape. Starter Michelle Snow also is new to the starting lineup.
“We were playing like little old ladies the other day,” Holdsclaw said of the New York loss.
A good start can be the perfect elixir. Let’s see which team finds the bottle.
Here are your starting lineups:
STORM
F Swin Cash
F Lauren Jackson
C Camille Little
G Sue Bird
G Tanisha Wright
SILVER STARS
F Sophia Young
F Chamique Holdsclaw
C Michelle Snow
G Becky Hammon
G Helen Darling
Today’s officials are Kurt Walker, Denise Brooks, and Kevin Sparrock.

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