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August 11, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Game thread: Tulsa at Seattle

STORM WINS: The second half wasn’t as spectacular as the first quarter and the Storm was hurt 33-26 on rebounding overall. But, as Little said, it was just one player doing the damage — Cambage. Otherwise Seattle defended well and continued to make baskets while taking care of the ball to finish with a 77-63 win. Little, who was horrid on the road, bounced back for a season-high 19 points and team-high seven boards. Cambage, however, had a career-high 24 points and 10 rebounds. It was a slower game and the Shock doesn’t have much depth. Saturday will be another test, visiting Atlanta getting Seattle to commit a franchise-record 29 turnovers in a road loss Sunday. The Storm had nine on Thursday, accounting for 13 Tulsa points. “There are some areas we’re trying to get better at,” Agler said. “Being efficient on offense with the basketball is one of those. We made some strides there.”
ANOTHER MILESTONE: Swoopes recorded her 1,000th assist against the Storm. She had three overall with four rebounds, not scoring a point.
CLOSING OUT: The Storm leads 74-57 with 4:49 remaining in the game.
MAILBAG: A-Rob’s fans were hyper with the ink for posters Thursday. There are birthday wishes all over KeyArena, making some on Twitter wonder if it’s her birthday today. Robinson actually turns 29 on Friday. Her father is in town for a visit and I’m sure to help celebrate.
HALFTIME: A Quigley rebound and football pass to Cash for an open layin helped the Storm take a 50-28 lead into the break. Seattle is shooting 66.7 percent from the field, buoyed by 5 for 9 shooting from three-point range. Despite a charge from Cambage off the bench, the Storm has contained the Shock with solid defense. Cambage is 4 of 5 from the field while the rest of Tulsa is 4 of 19 from the field. Seattle’s scoring is the most balanced it’s been this season, G Katie Smith leading the bench with six and Wright leading the starters (nine). Seattle could use better FT shooting, but turnovers have disappeared (three). The Storm combined for 45 in two road losses this week.
BURIED AGAIN: Things are back to normal, the Storm piecing together a 13-0 run to move back ahead 41-22 with 4:24 remaining in the half. Everyone appeared to get involved offensively, but mainly the Storm is taking advantage of Cambage being on the bench after a flagrant foul, driving to hole or getting buckets inside. Wright did hit a long-range jumper to force Tulsa to call time to discuss, she leads with nine points. Cambage has 11 off the bench.
SPOTTED: Former Washington OLB Anthony Kelley sat behind the Shock bench while Australian national team coach Carrie Graf was also in attendance. Former Storm star Svetlana Abrosimova was courtside with the Storm owners and Tacoma’s Vicci Martinez is in the house, preparing to perform at halftime. In the time it took to check the spellings on all of those names, the Shock went on a run behind the play of Cambage inside, closing to within 28-22 with 7:32 remaining in the second quarter.
TIME!: Tulsa assistant Kathy McConnell-Miller is much calmer than Connecticut coach Mike Thibault, but she still wanted an immediate timeout following Cash’s three-pointer with 6:57 remaining in the opening quarter. The dual-sided Storm is up 14-2, shedding all their horrible play on the road earlier this week. Seattle is 5 for 6 from the field, Bird leads with five points — more than she had in Atlanta in Sunday’s loss.
HEY TEACHER!: Agler also has a tie to Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, who’ll be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend. Back when VanDerveer was a teacher/coach at Ohio State, Agler said he was a student in one of her classes for his Masters. “So that means she’s older than I am,” he quipped. “I’ve watched her practices and have a lot of respect for what she’s done.” VanDerveer, who tried to recruit Bird to Stanford, used to coach rookie Pedersen.
QUIGLEY REMAINS: The Storm resigned G Allie Quigley to another seven-day contract.
Tulsa phenom Liz Cambage exited the visitor’s locker room at KeyArena clapping her hands, swinging her head back-and-forth and smiling wider than Elliott Bay. Not what was expected for a rookie on a team that’s lost its past 15 games.
The Shock plays at Seattle where the Storm has won its past seven matchups.
“Tulsa is playing better,” said Storm coach Brian Agler of the Shock, which has lost its past two road games by an average 6.5 points. “They’re playing with a lot more confidence.
“Every team is good in this league, for example they beat us down there last year and we set a record for most wins in a season (28). Anything can happen. We don’t even talk about records. We talk about teams, who we’re playing, personnel and what we’re doing.”
Seattle already won two of five meetings against Tulsa this season, 82-77 at BOK Center in June and 89-72 in July. Since then, however, the Shock has replaced coached Nolan Richardson with Teresa Edwards and added three players to the roster, including former Storm star Betty Lennox.
Only Edwards won’t coach Thursday, attending her Hall of Fame induction this weekend in Springfield, Mass. Agler used to coach against Edwards in the defunct ABL
“She was tough to guard,” said Agler of Edwards, a five-time Olympian who was player/coach of the Atlanta Glory. “She was a great competitor and tremendous talent, good leader and I know she was just a perfectionist. She’s one of those players where you have an individual assignment of trying to guard her but it really takes a team effort to get her shut down.”
Under Edwards, Agler said the Shock appears more settled, but it could be the veteran leadership of players like Sheryl Swoopes, Ivory Latta and Tiffany Jackson. The team also plays more in the halfcourt, utilizing Cambage, a 6 foot 8 Australian center. Cambage is averaging a team-leading 12.7 points and 5 boards.
The Shock (1-20) could be the right antidote for the Storm (12-10), which lost its past two road games after feeling good headed into August with a 6-6 July posting. Turnovers continue to be problematic for Seattle as it has trouble finding consistent play makers at key points in games. So, I’m sticking with my original gut feeling, Tulsa is going to clip someone on its current four-game road trip.
Will it be Seattle? Or maybe Minnesota on Sunday?
Let’s get the Storm matchup started with your starting lineups:
F Kayla Pedersen
F Sheryl Swoopes
C Tiffany Jackson
G Ivory Latta
G Amber Holt
F Swin Cash
F Camille Little
C Ashley Robinson
G Sue Bird
G Tanisha Wright
Tonight’s officials are Clarke Stevens, Tom Mauer, and Billy Smith.



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