Courtside Blog - June 14 vs. Storm

Dave here, welcome back to the scorer’s table for tonight’s matchup between the Sky and the Seattle Storm!

Tonight’s going to be a great test for the Sky as they have never defeated the Storm in franchise history. Last year, the Storm posted the second best record in the league at 22-12, and they have plenty of fire power returning this season, including 2-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson. Should be a great matchup, can’t wait for it to start!

Before the game, I was watching Armintie Price and K.B. Sharp out on the court, engaged in what looked like a game of H-O-R-S-E. When a security guard asked if that’s what they were playing, both players responded, “We’re playing Sky!”

It’s also been fun to watch Shyra Ely joke around with some of her ex-teammates before the game. Ely was on the Storm for two years before joining the Sky this season .

Early on it looks like the Sky is picking up right where they left off Friday night; they lead 15-1 just over six minutes into the game! The Sky’s defense is flying all over the court, not allowing Seattle an eye on the basket.

I'll tell you what Sky fans; it’s going to be tough for the Sky to play a better quarter than they just did. They hit on 7 of their 15 shots, forced six Seattle turnovers, and didn’t allow the Storm to hit a basket from the floor until there were three minutes left in the quarter! If they can maintain that level throughout the 2009 season, there will be a lot of celebrating at the UIC Pavilion this year!

The Storm’s frustration has extended to the bench. No foul was called when Janelle Burse was bumped on her way to the basket. Seattle Head Coach Brian Agler continues to yell at the referees “Make a call!!” So the refs did make a call—a technical foul on Agler. After two more questionable calls and more arguing from Agler, Sue Bird got her coach’s attention and told him to calm down—and it seems like he’s listening, for now. There’s a true point guard for you.

The Sky continued their solid play through the rest of the first half, and they hold a 34-24 lead at the break. Keep in mind that the Sky had a 12-point lead over the Storm during a game last September, and the Storm ended up winning that one. Coach Key and a few other players said that they weren’t happy with the way they finished against Atlanta on Friday night, they can make up for that tonight.

Also, thanks again to Mark Grossman for providing another great stat: the 24 points scored by the Storm in the first half ties a franchise record for the fewest points scored in a half by a Sky opponent. The Sky held San Antonio to 24 on June 9, 2007, and did the same to Sacramento 10 days later.

Midway through the 3rd, Bird went up for a jump shot, and it appeared that Perkins got a piece of her arm while in the air. Bird wanted a foul, Agler wanted a foul, the Seattle radio crew sitting to my left wanted a foul, but no call was made.

An “infection control timeout” was called a few minutes later when Jackson had a large cut open on her right arm, it may have been caused by a nail scraping against it. Jackson isn’t a stranger to that because she has a matching cut behind her right shoulder that’s at least six inches long!

Look out —with only one starter in the game for the Sky, the Storm went on a quick 7-0 run and cut the Sky’s lead down to two, 49-47 early on in the 4th quarter. And just like that, the four other starters re-joined Fowles on the court to stop the bleeding. However, the Storm just tied it up at 49. We’ve got ourselves a ballgame, folks!

A foul was called on Wyckoff away from the ball, causing Key to walk up near half-court and yell, “She’s holding her!” drawing a warning from the refs.

The Storm score again and now have their first lead of the game at 51-49. Seems like that number 49 has been stuck on the scoreboard for a while for the Sky.

Things are turning back in our favor! Perkins drove the lane as Bird knocked the ball out of her hand. Jia was able to regain control as Bird slipped just enough to give Jia an open look. The shot went in, causing Bird to turn away in disgust. It’s now 57-53, Sky. Follow that basket up with a shot clock violation by the Storm, and the momentum has swung back in the Sky’s favor!

A great battle for a rebound with 49 seconds left results in a jump ball, except its 6’6” Fowles against 5’11” Tanisha Wright … but the ball gets tipped right to the Storm!

It all comes down to this. Let’s set up what could be the final possession: 13.2 seconds left, Sky up 60-57, Storm have the ball … the roof is about to blow off this place, the Pavilion is rocking!

Jackson set’s up on the top of the key to set a screen on Wyckoff. However she extends her arms and nails Brooke just under the chin for an OFFENSIVE FOUL!

Free throws by Canty and Fowles seal the deal, the Sky wins this one 64-57 in nail biting fashion, earning their first ever win over the Storm in franchise history. This would have been a real tough one to drop after the start the Sky got off to.

Just heard the Seattle radio crew say, “The Sky will be competing for the playoffs, no doubt about that.” If tonight’s any indication, I couldn’t agree more. One more game at home on Tuesday night against the Connecticut Sun at 7pm, then we head to the road!

Thanks to the Sky fans that came out tonight, they were great down the stretch! A fantastic game all around for the Sky, proving that they can play with some of the best teams in the league.