The day dawned bright and sunny. Since pretty much every player mentioned the sun making it a good day in Jayda's player bios (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/storm/2015218790_stormbios03.html), I took this as a good sign. I know that our players have complained about noon games before because they don't allow them to go through their entire game-day routines, but with it being such a weird day anyway (read: ring ceremony + opening day), the additional "noon time" effects were probably negligible. I have to say, with so much anticipation, I was actually glad that the game was so early. I'd have been a wreck by the evening! ;) I went to breakfast, which I timed very precisely. I explained the timing of the Ring Ceremony and when the doors would open to my companion. He said that I must be one of the biggest Storm fans. I thought about that, then told him that I was probably only above-average. My assessment was somewhat vindicated when we arrived at Key Arena around 10 AM to lines of fans decked out in Storm gear already snaking across the concourse. 8-) Nice job, Storm fans.
The most noticeable thing upon entering the bowl of the arena was the shiny, shiny silver warm-up pants and jacket the Mercury were sporting. Ultimately, I don't think I'm a fan of the gray shoulders on many of the away uniforms, at least as I've seen so far. I thought that the Mercury uniforms would pop more if their shoulder accents were orange. I have to admit to be highly entertained by the shimmery silver on the warm-ups, though...in contrast to the questionable choice to make our Storm warm-ups have yellow underarms. Did we think that one through, Adidas? Sure, it really starts up on the shoulders and kind of swoops down the back and under the arms, but I still feel like someone could have questioned this design choice of yellow. I do like how the stripes change colors at the ends. And I also think that over all our uniforms are better color-wise than some other teams. So not a rousing success, but a decent effort. I do hope they are comfortable for the players. They are supposed to be made of some snazzy high-tech material that keeps them cool, so hopefully we get a chance to ask about that at the Meet Your Team event this Tuesday.
By the time I got to my seats, I didn't see any Storm players warming up, though Katie Smith was standing at the sideline in an orange WNBA 15th Anniversary t-shirt. There was video of the rings arriving. There was what will be a season-long Community Spotlight before the game for (today) the Alzheimer's Association (alzwa.org). Then the Ring and Banner Ceremony itself kicked off. And it was really nice (read my details in a previous post).
When the refs were introduced, I had to wonder what gods we'd angered: Clarke Stevens, Michael Price, and Brenda Pantoja. ??? !!!
Really, it's the 1st two I have the most history with. Brenda seemed to do all right in pre-season. She balanced the crap with good calls, though seemed to be awfully quick with the whistle. It's the other two! :o :P ::) Ok, enough emoticons. I did content myself with the fact that I think at least Clarke Stevens has always hated Phoenix more than Seattle. Didn't he throw Diana Taurasi out of a game, once? Was he the ref she went after that time? Well, anyway, I figured that would be a mitigating factor. One final, little-known fact (by me, anyway): Brenda Pantoja played point guard for Adia Barnes at Arizona. Adia was praising her point guard skills on the radio broadcast. OK, one more thing: the refs do know that the WNBA hasn't enacted the NBA no-whining rule, right? ;)
The Virginia Mason Team Medicine report had a fully healthy Phoenix roster, but #12 Belinda Snell was still listed as out with a sprained left ankle. :( I'm eager to see her play in a Storm uniform, since her only action thus far was the away game in LA. Sigh. But that does keep the anticipation up for future games, right? (Not that any help was needed there).
The Fan Instructional Video has been revamped this year. I can't remember if they had you take a deep breath (and we all know breathing is important while training, so perhaps they should reinsert this ;)), but Shelley Hart instructed us all to stand up, the Dance Troupe instructed us all to "everybody clap your hands". They still have us high five a Storm fan next to you and then end with "Make Some Noise!" However, this is always awkward in televised games, because they mess up the order of events by then doing the National Anthem, where we suddenly have to quiet down after they whip us into a frenzy. :-/ Nothing Storm fans can't handle, however. ;)
Jami Nove and Mischa Kaine (I know I spelled this wrong) on vocals and electric guitar performed the anthem. It was pretty straightforward and powerful, though of course the electric guitar also gives it that slightly irreverent, Seattle twist. Still, I hope we see Pat Wright this year as well. I was used to her doing the opening game. She owns the Anthem. ;)
Doppler, after sporting the uniform from last year at the Stormin' the Lake event, was wearing his new uniform for Opening Day. First, the Mercury were introduced to the Star Wars Empire music, which does amuse me in a juvenile way. Mostly polite applause, though Taurasi also got some half-boos. Not from me. I like her. So I cheered to off-set the boos. Then Doppler and the Dance Troupe kids ran out to form the introduction gauntlet, and the benchies came out as well, with A-rob and L'Coe on hand to get everyone squared away in the proper position this time.
It's tough to know how much detail to put into a Nationally Televised game, particularly in this Live Access day and age. We'll see, but I'm sure I won't be able to help myself. Meanwhile, both teams were shaky to start the game. Lots of blown lay-ups by the Storm, but for an opening game as long as the idea is right and we're getting the ball in a position to score, it's hard to get too worried. Our defense and d-rebounding were pretty good, and finally Tanisha hit a 3 to sit us down for the first time in 2011. 8-)
There was some additional back-and-forth like a track meet (fairly typical when playing Phoenix, I guess, though traditionally we've shown that we can run with them; with our injuries and such, though, we do still need to work on our conditioning, one of Coach Agler's comments pre-game to Dick Fain). Some turnovers. Sue runs this hook route at the top of the key and bullets a pass back down the key, but Camille isn't there, so it went out of bounds. Pay attention to this. Sue was visibly frustrated, not even saying it was her fault (though other fans pointed out to me that she swore in the moment, but took some responsibility when talking to Camille), and later on in the game she and Camille connect on this very same play in a beautifully-executed play. So clearly we're still working out a few kinks, but our mistakes were mostly reasonable ones like this.
About half-way through the quarter the crowd got really excited when Katie Smith took off her warm-up shirt and went to the scorer's table, giving her half of a standing ovation! Guess her reputation precedes her. I agree with other posters that it's nice to have her throwing elbows and shooting FOR us for a change. She came in and it was like she'd played for us for years, she fit in so effortlessly :) L'Coe also came in as Camille and T subbed out. And Katie wasn't shy about shooting right away. A couple shots later and she tied us up 10-10 for her first points in a Storm uniform. 8-)
Even with our miscues, I was impressed with our effort from top to bottom, and how cohesive we were in general. For instance, with 4 minutes to go in the 1st quarter Phoenix is on the break, and LJ seems to be picking up a foul defending Bonner when the whistle blows. But what is this? Sue drawing a charge on Diana instead. ;D Time and again our players showed through their effort that they have one another's backs, and while I know that this is going to be a tough, tough season, this game made me really excited (ifwecanstayhealthy).
I'll probably wax poetic about how Sue played this game later. She played phenomenally, earning a double-double for opening day, but then Phoenix always brings that extra competitiveness out in her, even earning her a nickname on the Rebkell forum based on that, and her clutch play (particularly in the 4th quarter). She had seemed to take her game to another level last year, but she might be even better this year. :o Anyway, I explained about how she orchestrated that play for Camille...she also did a similar bit with Ashley.
A-rob was a real part of the rotation today. She was playing with confidence, particularly offensively, though sometimes I still wonder about her nose for the ball. Reportedly she really balled out in training camp, and Adia thinks she could win MIP this year, but I wonder if that's true when she does things like misses a ball dropping right in front of her, or basically bounces a rebound off her head and out of bounds because she can't grab it. It's a weird dichotomy for me. But to get back to the Sue Bird Teaching Moment, offensively, A-rob didn't quite connect on a play at one point, when Sue kind of drove into the lane and passed it back to Ashley for a big step and lay-in at the basket. So within the next couple of times down the floor, Sue ran the exact same play, and A-rob connected this time! 8-) Happy fans. Happy team. Happy A-rob. Satisfied Sue. ;)
Meanwhile, whenever a player came out, particularly a starter, they were generally in intense conference with the coaches. When LJ came out initially, having only attempted that one opening shot, she sat down next to Jenny Boucek, and they put their heads together over a clipboard, with much pointing at the court. Still, despite all the coaching (or maybe because of it), some miscues and holey (note, not holy) defense combined with some plays that clicked like clock-work we kept the game close at the end of the 1st quarter. 1Q: 18-16
So, LJ didn't score her 1st points of the game until she hit a Technical Free Throw with 7:28 to go in the 1st half! :o Temecka Johnson got the quick whistle after she drove to the basket a few plays earlier and did not get the foul call she wanted. She gave the ref a look (and perhaps a word) then, and even came back to the endline again in order to give the ref the Hand (like: don't talk to me). ::) So then not much later she drove ill-advisedly into four Storm defenders yet managed to make a lay-up, then gave the ref a look, and probably some choice words, and Clarke Stevens, who let the first couple of things go, was quick to T her up at this point. ;D Good times. But even better to get LJ on the board.
More hustle plays and turnovers. Bonner has really quick hands, and got a steal or two. Swanier also. Sue also has the same frustrations with little guards as she does with long-armed guards and consequently lost it once or twice. But I like that we had several jump balls this game. The first one was in the first 1/3 of the 2nd quarter, with Katie Smith successfully getting the tip to Sue, and subsequently being rewarded for that right away with a feed from Sue to the perimeter where she splashed home a 3 to put us up by 10, 28-18. Sue typically rewarded teammates by running plays for them when they did something good defensively. By the same token, if a teammate made a mistake offensively, she'd run a play to get them the ball in order to get them back on track. Small touches like this really help the team stay cohesive, I think.
The next time out, midway through the 2nd, featured the much-discussed (on Stormfans.org) Storm minigames introduction. I guess it's a new thing they're going to do this year. It seemed like there were six or so that we'll eventually see this season, but first up: Sue Bird Racing. I haven't laughed that hard since the Brian Agler Stanky Legg. ;D Usually I put this stuff in the Run-off portion of my Downpour, but this one deserves in-game mention. It starts out (all on the Arenavision) with Sue putting on a ball cap saying her game is Sue Bird Racing because she's fast <smile>. Then Swin, Brian Agler and A-rob all give testimonials about how much training with Sue Bird Racing has helped them, which A-rob capping it off by saying that before she started training, "I used to play for the...Phoenix Mercury." This last in an chagrined tone of voice. At this point every player gathered over at the Phoenix bench turned and looked up at the Arenavision. :D
For this time-out they just showed a video with the players of how it would go, though later they played it live with fan contestants. Basically, three players raced while one rode a chicken, one a duck, and one an ostrich to pick up a basketball out of a nest, dribble it down court from the back of the bird, make a lay-up (while getting their own rebounds, more or less), then ride back and be the first in the nest. I can't remember which players were riding which birds. Also, can someone explain to me how those birds work? Anyway, the Chicken won both on the video (Sue Bird: "Chicken wins!"), and later with the fans. Is it easier to pick up the ball from the chicken? I guess only time will tell.
It started to get a little chippy out there on the court as the game resumed (or perhaps the chippiness just continued). I don't know if it's the fact that the Storm have seemed to have Phoenix's number since last season, or because the Mercury just felt a general level of frustration, what with Swanier throwing up shots that hit the side of the back-board or airball, and Braxton shooting 15-foot shots versus laying it in from the post. They also missed a lot from 3 initially, and once we settled down, the Storm controlled the pace of the game almost entirely, which is a much more slow and deliberate pace than the Mercury like. Any of that could be a factor, but with 2-1/2 minutes or so to go in the half, Sue went flying and hit the deck hard! Usually this would prompt hearty boos from the crowd whether it was a clean play or not, but in this case we all were too busy gasping or otherwise freezing in horror at Sue being crumpled to the ground that nary a boo rang out, uncharacteristically. I don't know about you guys, but in my head it's always, "Is it her nose?! Is it her knee?!" :o Neither in this case, thank goodness. Turns out she bruised her hand. :-/ Didn't really seem to hamper her too much, though. She got up among her gathered teammates and jogged to the bench, where Tom met her with an interrogative glance to which she nodded her head and gave him a thumbs-up. :)
During this break in game play, they announced it was Ginny Gilder's birthday. <Cheers> But then rather awkwardly the announcements were out of sync with the Arenavision, because they were going to also announce Katie Smith's birthday, accompanied with a picture of her posing with basketballs from Storm Media Day. Instead (perhaps waiting for applause?), the picture went up when they were still talking about Ginny Gilder, so there's Katie Smith posing all sexy (well, in a basketball context) with Happy Birthday text on her photo...for Ginny Gilder? I mean, that's what it seemed like, if you didn't know it was also Katie's birthday, and I'm sure at least half the audience was confused until the announcer hurriedly caught up to announce it was also Katie's birthday. Because that probably shouldn't be a thing: players posing on birthday cards on the Arenavision like that. Not that many of us wouldn't be appreciative, but I'm just saying. ;) So I laughed, and laughed at the absurdity, because that's how I roll. :D
Meanwhile, LJ was on the bench talking some more to Jenny Boo. Post-game she mentioned how she just felt so good and happy after the ring ceremony that she just didn't feel like getting angry and mixing it up during the game, that she just wanted to let the game come to her for the day, and that because we won she could continue on that high for a little while longer. So she spent much of the 1st half alternately floating around the perimeter and playing fantastic defense. Some fans I got together with post-game speculated that it could have been planned. Phoenix has some big bodies now inside, and were showing a willingness to lay down the hard foul this game. Several times Brian and LJ both complained about them going after Lauren's head, rather than the ball. And I think--based on some of the hard fouls given--that this is a new (?) defensive emphasis from the Mercury this year. For instance, a couple of the hard fouls given (and immortalized in the pictures posted on Stormfans.org in the Game thread) were clearly arm-bars across the Storm player's arms giving them no chance of making the shot. I think that's fair. It looks hard, and can cause some massive collisions. I wish the refs had compared that open court tendency to the number of times LJ's arms barely made it above her waist (I'm sure that's a no-call, ref, because LJ always puts it up from her hip >:( Hmph). However, that said, I still think TJ's hit on Sue went too far, but I'll come to that. ;)
It was really entertaining to watch Katie Smith and Diana Taurasi on the court. In Sue Bird, DT more typically has an opponent who won't engage in trash talk with her (though she'll usually get her to react once or twice during games, generally during play stoppages). They've talked about this before in interviews, with Sue even claiming that she doesn't even hear Diana a lot of the time because she's focusing on her game and her team. But Katie Smith showed a clear willingness to engage, because she and Diana were often to be seen during game stoppage or free throws smiling and jawing at each other in the backcourt. :)
Near the end of the half, after crashing to the floor Sue was called for a travel on what looked like a great step-through move. The TV announcers decided that she was shuffling her pivot foot, and I guess that's fair. Other fans have said that Sue was angry at herself for making the mistake, not the call. But Brian Agler certainly had a lot to say to Clarke Stevens after that call. It was mostly moot after Kara Braxton was called for a travel the next Mercury time down the floor, though. This seemed to happen a lot from the refs this game: they'd call something on one team, then call it on the other. Make-up calls? Points of emphasis? I don't know. But it was funny in-house when Phoenix was called on the travel and they played some bars of "Walkin' After Midnight". :) So with all the hijinks and everything, we kind of limped into the half up 5, after having been up by 11 or so. HT: 40-35
We were a little more consistently focused in the 3rd, I thought. LJ finally got her first field goal of the game :o (no kidding!) by cleaning up an uncharacteristically missed Sue Bird lay-in miss on a fast break. Hey, that's teamwork! That's why you trail your guards. 8-) We were missing some shots that normally go in, but I was pleased with our rebounding. Camille Little was working her butt off. LJ was crashing to the deck hanging on violently to a jump ball (which she clearly won, over a much shorter Marie Ferdinand-Harris). Camille was grabbing rebounds while falling out of bounds and passing them back in to her teammates.
Bodies were kind of flying everywhere. About halfway through the 2nd quarter the much-talked-about (on Stormfans.org) hard/dirty foul (depending on your perspective) that TJ laid on Sue occurred. I don't mind the arm bar, so much as a basketball play, though it really toes that line between making a play for the ball, and merely making a play on the body. However, I think people are being kind when they said that Tameka was trying to keep Sue from falling by grabbing her arm. To me it was clear on the in-arena replay that she kind of saw red at getting beat again and kind of latched onto Sue's forearm and drug her down deliberately, with some help of a nudge in the back with the other arm. Sure, Sue missed the shot, so mission: accomplished. But she could also have been really hurt if she'd landed wrong, or on something like a cameraperson, and in my opinion TJ was playing with just a little too much emotion, and even she was a little surprised afterwards at how effective she was in dragging Sue down. She hurriedly tried to make sure she was ok, and a livid Sue pretty much gave her the cold shoulder. The refs weren't buying Sue's argument for flagrant. TJ approached her again at the free throw line trying to make sure there were no hard feelings. No real response, just a nod to get her to go away. Sue missed the 1st of her two free throws. But fortunately our free throw shooting looked much better than in our pre-season home game. And I don't think this started a feud or anything. I think TJ just needs to play with a little bit more control. Just because she's little doesn't mean she's not strong.
But the game went on. With 4 minutes to go LJ finally got a signature turnaround jumper to fall, then like a minute later nailed a 3 over a rather unorthodox Katie Smith screen (she fell down...or was helped to the floor...but either way was blocking the defender leaving Lauren pretty wide open for an assist from an alert Sue). That put us up by 15, and we were feeling pretty good with our effort. LJ was still looking winded at times from the pace, so right after this Camille came in again. Diana picked up her fourth foul to big cheers. Then on a defensive play the ball bounced off a Mercury knee and into the backcourt, with Katie Smith making it obvious that she got out of the way. The ref didn't signal the over-and-back, though, telling Katie she'd touched it, and she reacted by sort of bringing her fist down in an arm gesture and got called for a T (I couldn't see her face from the side-where I sit--but the fact that she's reported by fans at the opposite end to have said "that's BS!" makes me revise my opinion on the thickness of Brenda Pantoja's skin, somewhat ;)). ::)
Another note on the Phoenix defense: they love to lock arms with their defensive assignments, particularly in the post. I've already called out Lauren's obvious issues of not being able to raise her arms (well, obvious to observers not charged with refereeing), but we picked up several offensive fouls as a team because the Mercury player would lock our arm on the side away from the ref, then when the Storm player finally wrestled her arm free she would be called for the offensive foul. This happened at least a couple of times. A couple of times on Swin, and at least once for LJ. :( This type of play resulted in an offensive foul call on Swin at the end of the 3rd got the crowd riled up with the boos again (always a good time), and also got Ify into the game for like 60 seconds! <cheering from the crowd>
This was very exciting. I thought she got to her spot all right. The Mercury knocked the ball out of bounds, and she was subbed back out, though, having given Swin a little breather (but only a little one). She sat next to A-rob on the bench, and the ABC/ESPN announcers were speculating about what the veteran could possibly be telling the rookie with very little on-court time to use as a teaching moment. Rebecca Lobo laughed and said that the vets always have to make sure they say something to the rookies, particularly after court time, whether there's anything to say or not. ;D 3Q: 60-47
We started the 4th kind of small with Sue, Katie, Tanisha, LJ and L'Coe. Interesting. But effective as on the break about 3 minutes in Sue passed over to T, who touch-passed to a trailing L'Coe for the lay-in, completing one of the best plays of the game, and displaying some of that 2-man chemistry T and L'Coe reportedly developed or refined in the off-season on the same championship team in Israel. There was a Tanisha-L'Coe pick and roll earlier in the game that was smooth, though L'Coe missed the lay-up.
With 6 minutes to go Camille really worked hard to stick with a rebound, and fired the ball back to LJ for Lauren's first &1 of the season (you have to mark these milestones, you know). That kept us ahead by 15, 69-54 and you know that Phoenix was feeling it. Brian Agler called out "controlling tempo" as a Key to the Game on the pre-game interview with Dick Fain. And they really executed that game plan. Phoenix averaged like 90 points per game last year, and here they were with just minutes to go in the game, only having put just over 50 points on the board. :o And one of the reasons we were doing so well was Camille Little. In a matter of minutes she'd fought down rebounds, got LJ an &1, had a jump ball, and showed at least 3 different jaw-dropping post moves, my favorite being when she pivoted like lightning all the way around her defender (Diana Taurasi) to shoot open from behind her. 8-)
So of course, just when we're marveling to ourselves at how great she looks, and thinking that she was totally worth all the extra money we paid her with her new contract (particularly as she was keeping us in it with Sue and Lauren probably on the bench probably for the remainder of the game, up by 19 with 4 minutes to go), Camille collapses on the court in pain underneath the Mercury basket, clutching her leg, which Arob had inadvertently rolled onto on the previous defensive set.
Tanisha looked back, then hurriedly crossed mid-court and called a time-out. Tom Spencer ran out and did the stability test right away to check for an ACL tear, as Camille had at this point sat up. She passed, and was able to walk off the court--with assistance--under her own power, straight to the locker room accompanied by a standing ovation. The diagnosis is a sprained knee. :-/ Usually you wouldn't be cheering a sprained knee, but it's a lot better than torn ligaments. Hopefully it doesn't keep her out for long, because Camille has clearly taken her game to another level again this season, and I didn't think it could be done after the fabulous way she played last season.
Phoenix finally went on a comeback run, or rather Diana Taurasi did, prompting Brian to get Sue and LJ back up and into the game. Katie at one point here passes the ball very high over LJ's head. I was thinking, "Katie, she gained an inch, not a foot!" But then, I amuse myself. And really, we limped to the end, as Diana didn't have much support from her teammates, despite her craftiness at drawing a 3-shot foul from Swin on the perimeter (though we know from the Finals last year, that Swin does have a propensity to be gamed by shooters on the perimeter like this), and everything she threw up suddenly starting to fall. And as a final poke in the eye by the refs to Phoenix (I thought that despite the calls I didn't agree with, and my lack of satisfaction with their calling the hard fouls that were being laid down, it was fairly evenly distributed), the refs didn't call the foul to stop the clock on Taurasi's rather lackadaisical reach-in, probably because she actually expected her teammate (Penny Taylor upon watching it again) to foul the Storm player...since any comeback in the final seconds should probably feature DT, as she was the only one hitting shots. Anyway, everyone but Swin kind of slowed down, expecting the foul, so she was wide open under the basket for a final easy lay-in at the end. 8-)
Katie Smith was interviewed after the game as Player of the Game. Dick Fain asked us what we thought about her as an addition and we cheered. In fact, another friend of mine was talking about some moment in the game when the fans were united in their cheering (we get in super-sync a few times a game) and noticing Katie looking up at us with wide eyes, and a momentary loss of game face in that moment as she smiled, then went back to concentrating. Anyway, we sang "Happy Birthday" to her and she applauded us. She said that the crowd was great in keeping the players energized, but really for her it was just nice to finally play a game. She had praise for Camille Little and the "garbage points" she gets on sheer effort, rather than us running specific plays for her. As far as focus, she said that it seemed like everyone realized that last year was last year, and there were some amazing memories, but that this year no one cares about that anymore. Phoenix wanted a piece of us, we got the W, and she knows Coach Agler is happy.
- First 8000 fans got a commemorative 2010 Championship Banner rally towel. Pretty cool. I already have wall-space near my Storm shrine picked out for it. ;)
- Towards the end of the 1st quarter some kids modeled some Championship gear during a game break down on court. Lo and behold they were kids of a friend of mine. Who knew? The point was that all Championship merchandise was 25% off that day. Hope you got while the gettings good.
- Doppler was walking around with a big, sparkly replica championship ring on his wrist towards the end of the 1st quarter. He'd borrowed it from some courtside fans on the Storm baseline. Now that's a great Arts & Crafts project. :)
- Some special visitors in the crowd: Governor Christine Gregoire and King County Executive Down Constantine were introduced, sitting next to Lisa Brummel and Anne Levinson, respectively. Both have attended other Storm games as well. WNBA President Laurel Richie was there, of course. But other non-introduced luminaries included new UW women's basketball coach Kevin McGuff, and at least one other of his assistants (not including Adia).
- Half-time entertainment featured a Dribble, Pass & Shoot skills challenge that a bunch of kids participated in. Reportedly there was a bigger competition earlier in the day, and the two finalists in each category (Grades 1-3 and Grades 4-6, boys and girls) competed during half time to dribble around some obstacles, pass into a net, then make a lay-up in the quickest time. The winners got a Kinect courtesy of Bing, so that's pretty cool. Takara from Lakewood won girls Grades 1-3, and Duncan from (? illegible writing). Sophie from Edmonds and Matthew from (?) won the girls and boys Grades 4-6. It was striking to me how much quicker the boys were than the girls. There are no real physical advantages at that age. If anything, the girls have the physical advantages. But this isn't a forum for sociological discussions, so I'll just say that it sure caught my attention.
- Saturday, June 11 Storm Traveling Practice, open free to the public is taking place from 103 at Edmonds-Woodway High School.
- Between the 3rd and 4th quarters they did Sue Bird racing on court and Jules riding Chicken won the race. Before that they made each contestant make the noise of their bird (chicken, duck and ostrich). The poor ostrich guy clearly didn't know what to do, but gamely made a bird-like noise. 8-)
- Section 115 Row 22 won the Zumba "Lucky Row" giveaway of the Xbox 360 Kinect Zumba game.
- I got a little bit frustrated by the number of cheer prompts that really don't lend themselves well to audience participation. They're all right once in awhile in order to break things up, but Storm fans are just as happy to have a three-beat repeat and allow us to scream "Let's Go, Storm" in sync. I'm just saying. More of this, less of the noise for noise's sake. We don't need that in Key Arena.
- Watching the TV broadcast on my DVR, it struck me that Laurel Richie doesn't seem as prepared for the sports patter questions that she will get, and also she is clearly still getting up to speed on all the issues swirling around her knew League. She gave some answers that were even more non-answery than normal to Heather Cox about things like the NBA lock-out.
- Dick and Adia Barnes say that the Storm organization also got them rings. So Adia was all excited to have two now: one as a player, and one as an announcer. 8-)