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Live from Press Row - Storm vs. Atlanta (Game 2)

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Want to enjoy the electricity of at KeyArena even if you're thousands of miles away? stormbasketball.com's Live from Press Row in-game blog is your best bet. All night and all season long, Kevin Pelton will be bringing you pregame quotes, analysis and observations from the game. E-mail Kevin at web@stormbasketball. Make sure to keep coming back or refreshing so you get the latest content.

Storm Holds On to Take 2-0 Lead in WNBA Finals
Final: Storm 87, Atlanta 84


It was never easy, but the Seattle Storm defeated the Atlanta Dream 87-84 tonight to win Game 2 of the WNBA Finals and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. The game came down to the final buzzer. Swin Cash missed both free throw attempts, but the Dream never got up a shot. Time ran out as Kelly Miller collected an outlet pass from teammate Sancho Lyttle.

On a night where offensive flow was hard to come by, the Storm relied heavily on the trio of Swin Cash, Lauren Jackson and Tanisha Wright. Cash provided energy whenever the Storm needed it, scoring 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Wright was lethal from the perimeter, making six of nine shot attempts to score 17 points and adding five steals. Jackson, meanwhile, went to work down low. With Atlanta reluctant to bring double-team help, Jackson got to the foul line 17 times, one shy of the WNBA Finals record. She made 13 of them for half of her 26 points and added seven boards. Camille Little was near another double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.

The Storm's defense held Atlanta to six points in the first 7:29 of the final period and forced 21 turnovers for the game. Angel McCoughtry suffered through a long evening, missing 16 of her 23 shot attempts. McCoughtry did score 21 points and added nine rebounds. Iziane Castro Marques matched her 21 points before fouling out.

The teams now get ready to travel across the country to Atlanta for Game 3 on Thursday night. Watch all the action on ESPN2 starting at 5:00 p.m. Check out >our Playoff Hype page for details on local viewing parties and stay tuned for complete coverage as the Storm pursues a WNBA championship.

Need a Free Throw
Fourth Quarter: Storm 87, Atlanta 84


Tough break for the Dream. Atlanta seemed to pull within two points at 87-85 with 3.0 seconds remaining, but Kelly Miller's jumper was ruled a long two after video review. As a result, the Storm needs only to inbound the ball and hit one of two free throws to win this ballgame.

Need a Free Throw
Fourth Quarter: Storm 87, Atlanta 84


Tough break for the Dream. Atlanta seemed to pull within two points at 87-85 with 3.0 seconds remaining, but Kelly Miller's jumper was ruled a long two after video review. As a result, the Storm needs only to inbound the ball and hit one of two free throws to win this ballgame.

Time Ticking Away
Fourth Quarter: Storm 85, Atlanta 79


Still a six-point game after the teams traded scores. Angel McCoughtry got a quick layup, but after a timeout the Storm inbounded the ball to Lauren Jackson, who made two free throws to give her 26 points and 13 free throws on the evening.

Storm Close to Exhaling
Fourth Quarter: Storm 83, Atlanta 77


It wasn't easy, but with 22.9 seconds left in the game the Storm is close to putting Game 2 of the WNBA Finals away. Atlanta had a chance to get within one point on an Angel McCoughtry three-pointer a moment ago, but it was errant and Sue Bird knocked down two free throws to give the Storm a six-point advantage. The Dream needs a pair of threes to tie and will have to do so without Iziane Castro Marques, who committed her sixth foul to stop the clock.

Hang-On Time
Fourth Quarter: Storm 77, Atlanta 71


With 2:59 left, the clock is the Storm's best friend. Atlanta trails by just six points, but the Dream has scored but six points in the first 7:01 of the fourth quarter. The Storm has been little better on offense, putting up eight points. The teams have combined for 10 turnovers and 35.0 percent shooting. However, Atlanta is so streaky that at any point the Dream could get going and put together a spurt to get right back in this game. Iziane Castro Marques might be the most dangerous player on the floor. The former Storm forward has 19 points on 9-of-18 shooting.

After strong support from Seattle's NBA community in Game 1, the NFL's Seattle Seahawks are in the house tonight and throwing out T-shirts during this timeout. (They had a good excuse Sunday, since they were beating San Francisco across town.) Justin Forsett, Matt Hasselbeck, Lawyer Milloy, Chester Pitts and Chris Spencer are all on the floor.

Winning with Defense
Fourth Quarter: Storm 69, Atlanta 65


If the Storm is going to win this game, it will be with defense. The Dream has just four points in the four-plus minutes of the fourth quarter thus far. Atlanta has gone nearly three minutes without scoring. The Storm is making almost every first shot a tough attempt. Only when the Dream gets second shots or out in transition has Atlanta been able to get going. That's help the Storm extend this lead slightly to six points. With the Dream also congesting things at the defensive end, it will be defense that carries the Storm if it holds on to win this game.

Storm Takes Lead to the Fourth
Fourth Quarter: Storm 69, Atlanta 65


The Storm put together a little 10-3 spurt to end the third quarter with a four-point lead. Sue Bird has been an energizer, getting to the basket when the Dream fails to pay enough attention to her ability to drive off the pick-and-roll. Lauren Jackson was also big in the third quarter, scoring eight of her 22 points. Jackson is 11-of-15 from the free throw line tonight.

Storm Takes Lead to the Fourth
End Third Quarter: Storm 69, Atlanta 65


The Storm put together a little 10-3 spurt to end the third quarter with a four-point lead. Sue Bird has been an energizer, getting to the basket when the Dream fails to pay enough attention to her ability to drive off the pick-and-roll. Lauren Jackson was also big in the third quarter, scoring eight of her 22 points. Jackson is 11-of-15 from the free throw line tonight.

Getting in the bonus early could help one of these teams. They've attempted a combined 47 free throws, split almost evenly - 24 for the Storm, 23 for Atlanta. In terms of foul trouble, Erika de Souza and Sancho Lyttle have four fouls for the Dream and Sue Bird has four fouls for the Storm.

We'll see what kind of factor the crowd is down the stretch. Fans were up Stanky Legging during the Fan Dance at the quarter break, including former Storm guard Semeka Randall. Randall, now the head coach at Ohio University, is sitting next to inaugural Storm player Jamie Redd and Dawn Trudeau from Force 10 Hoops LLC.

Dream Running
Third Quarter: Atlanta 57, Storm 55


Resiliency has been a trait we've applied to the Storm all season long, but it applies to the Atlanta Dream as well. Marynell Meadors cited the team's resiliency yesterday when talking about how Atlanta stayed close throughout Game 1. The same thing has applied tonight. The Dream has answered every run. The Storm came out of the break with six unanswered points, but Atlanta has responded with a 10-0 run to take the lead for the first time since the score was 24-21 early in the second quarter.

The Storm is very flat right now and KeyArena has been silenced. The team has committed three turnovers in the last four possessions and been forced into some tough shots. It's time for the Storm to execute on offense. The crowd will be behind the team after getting excited during the search for the best sign presented by Top Pot Doughnuts. Our winner? "Even Chuck Norris is Afraid of Lauren Jackson."

Massive Monkees Rock the House
Halftime: Storm 49, Atlanta 47


Great halftime performance from Seattle's favorite b-boys, the Massive Monkees. Basketball fans may remember them as the Sonics Boom Squad. Since last performing in KeyArena on a regular basis, the Massive Monkees have blown up with their appearance on America's Best Dance Crew, and fans enjoyed watching them at the half.

Familiar Script to End Half
Halftime: Storm 49, Atlanta 47


Every time the Seattle Storm is on the verge of claiming control of this series, the Atlanta Dream responds with a run. Such was the case at the end of the first half. The Storm led by seven with 28.7 seconds left on a pair of Sue Bird free throws, but Atlanta scored the half's final five points. On Sunday, Iziane Castro Marques sent the Dream to the locker room with a three. Tonight, it was Angel McCoughtry who pulled up in traffic at the buzzer and knocked down a triple to pull Atlanta within two points.

The second quarter was very entertaining, as the teams combined for 56 points. It was more a case of good shooting than bad defense. Both teams made difficult shots. Castro Marques and McCoughtry are the masters of tough looks. They have 25 points at the half on 10-fo-26 shooting. Meanwhile, the Storm is getting point production from Swin Cash, Lauren Jackson and Tanisha Wright, all of whom are in double-figures. That's helped make up for the fact that Bird (1-of-6) has struggled and the bench has been quiet.

Foul trouble is definitely worth watching in the second half. Atlanta has been called for 16 fouls. All five starters and reserves Erika de Souza and Yelena Leuchanka have at least two, while Coco Miller and Sancho Lyttle have been called for three apiece. Meanwhile, four of the Storm's five starters have two fouls. Swin Cash - who sat out much of Game 1in foul trouble - is the only starter on either side with fewer than two fouls (she's got one).

Storm Opens Up the Lead
Second Quarter: Storm 44, Atlanta 37


This has become a totally different game during the second quarter, with both teams slowing down and shooting more accurately from the field. The Storm has had the better of the period, outscoring Atlanta 25-16 to take a seven-point lead. Swin Cash and Tanisha Wright have been doing major damage. They've combined for 19 points, making seven of the eight shots they've taken.

The Storm's ability to power the ball inside to Lauren Jackson has opened things up on the perimeter. Wright has made two shots from outside - a three-pointer and a long two with a foot on the line. Cash continues to power her way to the basket. As a team, the Storm is shooting 75.0 percent during the second quarter, making nine field goals in 12 attempts.

Storm Getting Comfortable
Second Quarter: Storm 28, Atlanta 24


For the first time since the opening tip, the KeyArena crowd has become a big factor in this game. Fans are on their feet in support of a 7-0 Storm run to take its largest lead of the game at four points. Marynell Meadors responds by taking timeout.

Atlanta went to a zone because the Storm had neither Sue Bird nor Lauren Jackson on the floor and it proved unsuccessful. Swin Cash beat it for a three, Tanisha Wright saw the lane open up for a layup and Cash posted up Angel McCoughtry for a turnaround jumper. Cash has seven points, nearly matching her total of nine from a foul-plagued Game 1. At the other end, the Dream remains inconsistent. The Storm has drawn a pair of charges, including Sancho Lyttle's second foul.

Bizarre Box Score
End First Quarter: Atlanta 21, Storm 19


You won't see a lot of first-quarter box scores quite like the one tonight. The Atlanta Dream has owned the offensive glass and lived at the free throw line, but this is still a close game because the Dream has had such a hard time scoring from the field. Angel McCoughtry is 1-of-10 from the field and the Dream is 6-of-25, including one make in 10 attempts outside the paint. The Storm isn't exactly sizzling itself, shooting 40.0 percent, but that's been good enough to stay close.

Pace can be overrated at times, but this game has definitely gone with the tempo. When it's frenetic and wild, the Storm is making mistakes and allowing Atlanta to get out in transition. When the Storm has been able to slow the game down, the team has had success working the ball to Lauren Jackson in the paint. Jackson has nine points and has gone to the free throw line four times. 13 total fouls in the first quarter could be a factor down the road. Sue Bird, Erika de Souza and Tanisha Wright all have two fouls.

Fast-Paced Start
First Quarter: Atlanta 7, Storm 2


It's an early 6 p.m. start at KeyArena, but nobody had to wake up the Atlanta Dream. Highly motivated to even this series heading back to Atlanta, the Dream has come out with determination to play this game at its preferred style. Atlanta is playing hyper-fast and forcing the issue. It's paid off with multiple second chances and some bad Storm possessions. The Dream has three points in transition and has an early 7-2 lead.

Storm Head Coach Brian Agler took a timeout to try to get his team playing under control. It's worth revisiting what he said about the Storm's turnovers during Game 1.

"I just thought it was some poor decision-making," he said. "Just not being mentally tough. They take two or three things away, you've got to be able to play under control and find out what the fourth and fifth option is - not be loose with the basketball. They're a team that will create turnovers and they thrive off of that."

Pregame Festivities
Pregame


Before tonight's game, the Storm honored Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson as well as Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry for being named to the All-WNBA Teams yesterday. Jackson was a First Team selection while Bird and McCoughtry were both on the Second Team. That was followed by a powerful National Anthem from 10-year-old Caspian Coberly, who plays the electric guitar. This crowd is just about ready to go.

Bishop Sidelined
Pregame


Storm rookie Abby Bishop is in street clothes tonight and will not play in the wake of the concussion she suffered while playing an informal three-on-three game after yesterday's practice. Whether Bishop will travel to Atlanta tomorrow with the team will depend on the results of upcoming neurological evaluations.

"We'll do whatever the doctors tell us to do," said Storm Head Coach Brian Agler. "We'll have some communication tonight and I'm sure we'll have some communication tomorrow morning."

Enjoying the Atmosphere
Pregame


While it might not be ideal for a visiting coach, Atlanta Dream Head Coach Marynell Meadors couldn't complain about the size and noisiness of the Storm's crowd at KeyArena for Game 1 of the WNBA Finals.

"It was a great crowd," she said, "and as a pioneer in the game I sure am glad to see things like that and the support that this Seattle team really gets. I think it's awesome how they support them."

Meadors is hoping to enjoy the same kind of home court advantage on Thursday when the series shifts to Atlanta for Game 3.

"You've got to turn it around," Meadors said. "When we go back to Atlanta, we'll have the same number sitting in our stands. Our stands are just a little bit wider and spread out more."

Signing On
Pregame



Aaron Last/Storm Photos

Hello from KeyArena, where both teams are preparing for tonight's Game 2 of the WNBA Finals. 5,000 rally towels have been placed on seats throughout the lower bowl, while the 200 level is open for business. We're expecting another large, loud crowd as the Storm looks for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. It won't be easy. Atlanta gave the Storm a major test in Game 1 despite Angel McCoughtry's foul trouble.

"Atlanta's a good team," declared Storm Head Coach Brian Agler after yesterday's practice. "I knew this going in. On the outside looking in, people see our record and think there's a big difference between us and everybody else. That's not the case. They have four people on that team who have been All-Stars the last two years. They are an extremely talented team. They have a deep bench. They have veterans coming off the bench. They're a team that has gotten better as the season has gone on - especially from the end of the regular season going into the playoffs. We're trying to do some things to get better. I hope we see some improvement tomorrow, but it's going to be an extremely competitive situation."

If the action is anywhere near as exciting as Sunday's, we're in for a treat. Stay with us all night long for updates and analysis.