Women's Hoops Blog
Jayda Evans covers college and pro women's basketball. While its her first year on the Washington beat, she has covered the Storm since its inception. She'll offer observations, critiques, occasional off-beat tales and answers to select e-mail inquires. Evans also has written a book on the Storm and women's hoops, called "Game On!"
June 1, 2008 5:40 PM
Posted by Jayda Evans
STORM WINS: Time ran out on Houston and the Storm won 64-63 in a slugfest. Seattle is continuing its best start in franchise history at 5-1. They'll travel to New York on Monday for a back-to-back against the Liberty and Cash's former Detroit Shock.
SO COOL: The Storm stayed calm and produced the coolest play I've seen from them in Griffith blocking a shot from Dixon and Jackson grabbing the rebound. She zipped it ahead to Bird, who made the fast break layin to put the Storm back ahead 64-63 with 6.8 seconds remaining. The Storm got another defensive stop with it forced C Misti Williams into a bad shot, but an official blew their whistle, stopping the clock with 3.4 seconds remaining. The crowd is chanting "The Game Is Over!" but the officials are still talking. The clock will be reset to .8 seconds and it's Storm ball.
BURNED: Well, all the good Cash did to get the Storm back in the game may have just dissolved in a a made jumper by Tamecka Dixon over Cash with 53.8 seconds remaining. The bucket put the Comets ahead 63-62.
CASHING IN: Cash is back on a mini roll in an ugly game. She made two three-pointers, a turnaround jumper and had a dish to G Tanisha Wright to help pull the Storm ahead 57-55 with 4:40 remaining in the game. It's a definite foul-fest, Seattle has gone to the line 34 times while Houston has attempted 22 free throws and committed 26 personal fouls.
GRIFFITH GETS FOURTH: Houston is still giving Seattle trouble even without Swoopes in the lineup. Griffith just collected her fourth foul and isn't producing much. She has three points, two boards, and four fouls. Agler hasn't called anyone to the score's table to check-in for Griffith.
TIE GAME: Bird just tied the game at 32 points apiece entering the half. Before the game, Cash was talking about how not being announced among the first nine Olympic players and not being mentioned during television broadcasts will motivate her to play harder and it appears it's just now starting to click. Cash is aggressively snatching rebounds from the Comets and Bird is providing the offense, leading the team with 14.
CHATTY GOODWIN: WNBA/NBA agent Eric Goodwin, who represents Tina Thompson and Candace Parker, is sitting on press row. He's the reason why there's a lull in notes during the game. We're talking about the trouble in marketing women to advertisers and the game in general. It's good stuff, so I hope you'll forgive me for one game.
FOUL TROUBLE: Griffith just left the game due to racking up three fouls. This is the trouble Seattle feared it would be in. Reserve Katie Gearlds has tried to spark the team with a three-pointer, but the Storm can't keep the offensive flow going. Seattle is shooting 30 percent while Houston is clicking and has built a 21-16 lead with 5:45 remaining in the first half.
SWOOPES GETS RECORD: Swoopes collected her 600th steal with 8:33 remaining in the opening quarter. She swiped the ball from Snow, but then Swoopes turned the ball over.
ATTENDANCE LOWS: A poster wondered recently why the new ownership wasn't drawing more fans to KeyArena, especially with the winning record and I have to wonder the same today. The Mariners have already lost 7-5 and the Storm's 6 p.m. start works for the kids. But I'm guessing there's less people here than on Friday, which was announced as 6,800. Or the crowd could be smart. The first quarter just concluded and it was brutal. Seattle is down 12-9. Both teams are shooting below 30 percent.
Tonight's game will be real interesting. True, Houston is winless and the Storm is rocking. But that rocking Storm is also underhanded against a very physical Comets squad that is averaging 22.3 free throw attempts in their past three games. The Storm is averaging 17.0 during the same timeframe and is lacking depth inside since F Kelly Santos decided to leave on Saturday to join her Brazilian national team in Madrid. Brazil is entered in a last-ditch effort tournament to qualify for the Beijing Games.
A source close to Santos said the decision was very difficult because reaching the WNBA is a "once in a lifetime chance" and she didn't want to ruin her opportunity to play in the "best league in the world." But Santos was needed by her country due to the injury to C Erika de Souza. Santos will return from the FIBA tournament on June 16.
Romanian Florina Pascalau will not be activated because the final paperwork for her visa hasn't been processed. The Storm has thought about signing former Washington standout Kristen O'Neill, but coach Brian Agler, who's also the team's director of player personnel, didn't want to make a rushed decision. He was told of Santos' decision on Thursday.
Funny moment before tip-off (aside from Houston coach Karleen Thompson running darting away from me after my line of Sheryl Swoopes questioning, more on that later this month), PG Sue Bird was recognized for being selected to the Olympic team at halfcourt. She was supposed to stand with Rick DuPree, director of community relations, and hold her No. 6 Olympic jersey. Bird did so for about 20 seconds, flinging the jersey back to DuPree and rejoining teammates for warm-up drills. Only the public address announcer hadn't reached the congratulations part where the camera is cued for a close-up before she left center court. When it happened, DuPree was there standing by himself with the jersey.
One thing to look for tonight is Swoopes needs just one steal to reach 600 in her career. She would be the first WNBA player to reach the mark.
Here are tonight's starters
F Swin Cash
F Lauren Jackson
C Yolanda Griffith
G Sheryl Swoopes
G Sue Bird
INACTIVE: Florina Pascalau
F Erica White
F Tina Thompson
C Michelle Snow
G Tamecka Dixon
G Hamchetou Maiga-Ba
INACTIVE: Mwadi Mabika and Marcedes Walker
Tonight's officials are Cameron Inovye, Scott Twardoski, and Jeff Smith
June 1, 2008 1:45 AM
Posted by Jayda Evans
Storm F Kelly Santos is expected to leave the team to join her Brazilian national team in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women in Madrid. Iziane Castro Marques (Atlanta) will also leave the WNBA to join Brazil, but Dream teammate, C Erika de Souza, will not compete due to a stress fracture. The competition begins June 9 and Santos is not expected to return to the Storm until June 16.
Five spots for the August Games remain. If Brazil qualifies, the Storm will once again have three player representatives in the Games in Santos, PG Sue Bird, and F Lauren Jackson (Australia). In 2004, the team had Jackson, Bird, and Castro Marques. Seattle could have four, if F Swin Cash is given a berth.
Spoke to F Sheryl Swoopes at practice on Saturday and she stated she has no intentions of representing America, but if offered a fourth invite, she would compete for her country. Swoopes isn't anticipating that call, however, read more here.
Storm coach Brian Agler thinks Cash should be on the team. Some believe the decision is based on whether Indiana F Tamika Catchings can rehabilitate from major right Achilles tendon surgery quick enough. Swoopes said Team USA needs Cash and Catchings -- healthy -- in order to win gold because of their defense.
"She's [Swin] sort of our stopper out there on the perimeter," said Agler of Cash, who is averaging 15.6 points on the offensive end. "I know Swin is in the running for that [last three spots] and she's played exceptionally well here. If people are evaluating on how she's playing, I think she's showing the things that she can do on both ends of the basketball floor. And she can play the 2, 3, or 4. That's very valuable. Her game is speaking for itself right now."
According to the Olympic selection committee, Catchings is expected to make her Fever debut this month. Coach Lin Dunn said during training camp that the hardest thing is slowing Catchings down to make sure she's 100 percent because Catchings is itching to return. In the meantime, all we're seeing of her are those awful league commercials.