PHOENIX - JULY 14: (L-R) Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm talks with Tanisha Wright #30 during the WNBA game against the Phoenix Mercury at US Airways Center on July 14 2010 in Phoenix Arizona. The Storm defeated the Mercury 111-107 in triple overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
We've heard before the Coach Agler that loves him some ugly games and he certainly got it last night. Both teams shot around 38% from the field and neither team got much done in the paint or on the break.
The Storm clogged up the lane and rotated beautifully against the Mercury pick and roll while the Phoenix zone and double teams forced the Storm into outside shots.
Welcome to playoff basketball.
It came down to the Storm jacking up 25 three-point attempts and hitting 10 (40%) which sounds nice except the Mercury hit 9 three's on only 15 attempts (60%). Efficiency is the name of the game in shooting so it's hard to say the Storm won this game from behind the arc.
The teams were even in second chance points as well (13 each) and the Mercury had a 10-to-5 advantage in points off turnovers and 11-to-6 advantage in fast break points.
So where did the Storm win this game? From the line.
Seattle had 29 FTA's to 17 for the Mercury and scored 9 more points from the line. The disparity was interesting though considering the Mercury only had two more fouls called against them (22-20).
What it came down to was the Storm fouling on the perimeter as a tactic to slow Phoenix down while the Mercury were getting called for hacking in the lane on shot attempts.
Almost all of Tangela Smith's 5 fouls came against shooters as she reached or leaned in with her long arms instead of standing straight up. Several of Taurasi's fouls where against the arms of Seattle shooters.
The Storm defenders were certainly aggressive and physical against the Mercury drivers (Taurasi and Taylor) but for the most part used their bodies and not their hands.
The officials were pretty consistent in allowing that kind of contact but the reaching and slapping was called and that's something the Mercury do far too much.
Nate credits the Storm bench and rightly so. It will be interesting to see if these role players can hit those shots on the road though.
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So if anything positive is to be taken from this game, it’s that a Storm team that finished last in the league in points off the bench and has had notoriously erratic bench play for the past few years was able to rely on their bench to contribute 26 of their 82 points and outscore the opponents’ bench by eight points in a game of this magnitude.
And you know it's always all about Diana.
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When Diana Taurasi goes 2-for-15 shooting and finishes with six turnovers and six fouls and only one assist then you know the Mercury are going to have a hard time winning.
She was aggressive early attacking the paint but the Storm made a concerted effort to put several defenders in front of her. Taurasi clearly was looking for calls that didn't come and it seemed to impact the rest of her game.