Live from Press Row - Storm vs. Tulsa
Storm Gets the Win
Final: Storm 74, Tulsa 57
The second half wasn't exactly pretty, but the important thing is the Storm got a comfortable victory over the Tulsa Shock. Camille Little really led the way tonight, scoring a season-high 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting and pulling down seven rebounds. Little did an excellent job of finishing around the basket. Everyone else in the starting lineup scored at least eight points, though the Storm had just one other player (Tanisha Wright, with 11) reach double-figure scoring.
Overall, the Storm shot 52.6 percent from the field and had just nine turnovers - tying the last game against Tulsa for a season low. Good things happen when the Storm takes care of the basketball. The same is true of bench scoring, and the Storm got 22 points from reserves tonight.
In addition to all the Bird-related festivities, Saturday is also a rematch of the 2010 WNBA Finals as the Atlanta Dream makes its lone visit of 2011 to KeyArena. The Storm will be looking to even the season series after a disappointing loss in Atlanta last Sunday. It should be a great game, so I hope we'll see you here ().
In the Refrigerator
Fourth Quarter: Storm 74, Tulsa 57
To steal from the late, great Chick Hearn, the jello is jigglin'. This one can safely be put in the refrigerator with the Storm up 17 with 2:53 to play, especially since Tulsa has scored just two points in the last four and a half minutes. Brian Agler has yet to empty the bench, but he did get Sue Bird out of the game. Barring something unforeseen, she's likely to finish the night on the sidelines.
I hope you've been enjoying our coverage of Sue Bird's 10 seasons in Seattle all week long. If you missed any of it, including top 10 lists and a feature with Sue looking back on her time with the Storm, check out our homepage for links to everything and more great Sue stats. The celebration culminates Saturday with Sue Bird Decade Night. The fun starts with bobbleheads for the first 4,000 fans and continues with Sue-themed entertainment throughout the game. Don't miss it - Get your tickets now!
Still a Game
Fourth Quarter: Storm 71, Tulsa 55
With 7:33 left in the game, Tulsa still isn't out of this game, trailing by 16 points. The biggest reason why the Shock is hanging around has been the play of Liz Cambage, who now has a career-high 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting in just 21 minutes of action. After Cambage's last score, Brian Agler took timeout to try to settle things down.
We've got a great event coming this Sunday just down the street at the Queen Anne QFC. All the returning players from last year's team and Agler will be on hand to sign your Storm championship Wheaties box. If you haven't found your Storm Wheaties just yet, don't despair. A limited number of boxes will be available for free at the event. Players will be there from 1-2 p.m., so get there early and make sure to get your Wheaties and your autographs.
Teddy Bear Toss
End Third Quarter: Storm 67, Tulsa 51
Always fun to see teddy bears come raining out of the sky during our annual Teddy Bear Toss presented by Bartell Drugs. It's our own little version of the octopus tradition with Detroit hockey. I think we might have set a record for teddy bears as many fans came prepared to throw them onto the court during this past timeout. The best part is they go to help comfort children in emergency situations, which is a great cause.
Another neat moment during the timeout: Lead referee Clark Stevens dropped off the basketball with a pair of little girls sitting in the seats at the endline press table here. They loved the chance to see the official game ball.
Cambage Causing Problems
Third Quarter: Storm 59, Tulsa 36
The Storm has added to the lead since halftime, but it would be a lot worse if not for Tulsa rookie Liz Cambage. Cambage has scored six of the eight points since the break for the Shock and has 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and eight rebounds overall. There are times where she's simply unstoppable when she gets the ball deep in the paint. The only options are fouling or letting her score. Not unlike a certain Aussie favorite of ours during her younger years, Cambage does have a tendency to get frustrated at times. She was unhappy when she was called for an offensive foul for clearing out Ashley Robinson earlier this period.
Vicci Martinez Performance
Halftime: Storm 50, Tulsa 28
Great performance during halftime from Vicci Martinez. She performed in front of a group of fans who got to come down on the court and watch her up close, covering "Rolling in the Deep" and playing a song from her upcoming album. Between songs, in-arena emcee Shellie Hart presented Martinez with a personalized Storm jersey to the applause of fans.
Excellent Offensive Half
Halftime: Storm 50, Tulsa 28
Hard to find anything not to like about the Storm's first half, especially at the offensive end. That started with the Storm taking care of the basketball, which was a big change from the last three games. The team committed just three turnovers. The Storm then made excellent use of the extra shots, shooting 66.7 percent from the field and making five three-pointers in nine attempts. All told, the Storm scored at a rate of nearly 150 points per 100 possessions - about 50 percent better than usual.
What really stands out is the balance the Storm enjoyed. No Storm player scored double-figures, but every starter and two reserves had at least four points. Nine players scored in the first half, with only Allie Quigley failing to get on the board. Quigley did play the last minute of the half and delivered a gorgeous full-court assist to Swin Cash for a layup.
Storm Opening Things Up
Second Quarter: Storm 41, Tulsa 22
Fans are busy dancing during this timeout for the Pirate's Booty Shake Your Booty Fan Dance, and there's plenty for them to celebrate. The Storm is on a 13-0 run, having held Tulsa scoreless for a little over four minutes. That's pushed the Storm's lead to 19 points, its highpoint this evening.
The Storm is shooting 64.0 percent from the field and has seen five players score at least six points thus far. By contrast, just three Shock players have scored period.
Second Quarter: Storm 32, Tulsa 22
Very nice game so far for Storm center Ashley Robinson, who has four points and three rebounds (and was robbed of an assist she deserved). Robinson knocked down a pair of free throws during the first quarter (she's now at 70 percent from the charity stripe this season) and had a composed hook shot this period. Robinson has also been the Storm's best answer for Liz Cambage on defense. She forced a 24-second violation by pushing Cambage too far away from the basket to do anything.
Cambage was just called for a flagrant foul after Katie Smith went to the ground holding her head. Smith was able to stay in the game after the timeout and shoot the two free throws. We did not get a look at a replay to see what happened on the contact.
Shock Finds Footing
End First Quarter: Storm 26, Tulsa 18
The largest lead for the Storm in the first quarter came at 24-10 following a Camille Little three-pointer. The Shock did a nice job of answering, running off six unanswered points to get the lead back under double-figures. That's where it is now as the Storm takes an eight-point advantage to the second quarter. Tulsa is a different team with Liz Cambage in the post. She has seven points, including three free throws, and has proven a matchup problem thus far. Tiffany Jackson is supplying the rest of the Shock offense with eight points.
Before the game, Storm Head Coach Brian Agler cautioned that Tulsa has been improved of late.
"Tulsa's playing better," he said. "They've had two close games on the road here at San Antonio and at L.A. They're playing with a lot more confidence."
First Quarter: Storm 14, Tulsa 2
The Storm got a Sue Bird three-pointer on the first trip downcourt and has yet to look back, taking an early double-digit lead. The Storm has made five of its first six shot attempts, including a pair of triples, while Tulsa has yet to scratch from the field. The Shock's lone points came on a pair of free throws by Tiffany Jackson.
Kathy McConnell-Miller has called a timeout to try to get her team back on track and slow down the Storm.
No Edwards Tonight
Tulsa will play tonight without Interim Head Coach Teresa Edwards, who is busy receiving the highest possible honor for a basketball player. Edwards is being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame tomorrow. The ceremonies began today, requiring Edwards to miss the game. Assistant Coach Kathy McConnell-Miller, the former head coach at the University of Tulsa and Colorado, will fill in. McConnell-Miller is the sister of former Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Suzie McConell-Serio, and spent an extended period before the game chatting with the Storm's Katie Smith, who played for McConnell-Serio in Minnesota.
Before the game, Storm Head Coach Brian Agler talked about his memories of coaching against Edwards in the ABL.
"She was tough to guard," said Agler. "She was a great competitor, tremendous talent, good leader. I know that she was just a perfectionist. She wanted to do things right. She was one of those players where you have an individual assignment but it really takes a team effort to get her shut down.
"She's won several awards, played on numerous gold-medal-winning teams, so very well deserved. People who have followed women's basketball historically would put her easily up in the top five players ever to play. I think that's the kind of respect she has."
In addition to Edwards, longtime Stanford Head Coach Tara VanDerveer is going into the Hall of Fame this weekend. Agler worked with VanDerveer's sister, Heidi, in Minnesota. Heidi VanDerveer later was an assistant coach in Seattle, giving Tara a tie to the Storm. Agler remembered first coming in contact with Tara VanDerveer before he began coaching women's basketball. While still in his home state, Agler took a class in coaching from VanDerveer, then at Ohio State.
Hello from KeyArena, where the Storm hosts the Tulsa Shock tonight. It's a busy evening beyond just the action on the court. At halftime, Tacoma's own Vicci Martinez from NBC's "The Voice" will give a special performance for Storm fans. During the game, we'll have our annual Teddy Bear Toss presented by Bartell Drugs. I already see a handful of bears throughout the arena, including one carried by the Shock's Abi Olajuwon. It should be a fun night, so stay with us throughout for the latest from KeyArena.