Last night was the first regular season ESPN or ABC game at Verizon Center since 2008 if my memory serves me correctly. I know, Seattle won 79-71, and though it wasn't a blowout like last Sunday, just from watching this game from start to finish, the green and gold was in control for the whole game, led by their sharpshooting guard Sue Bird (25 points on 9-14 shooting), even when the Mystics kept it close. Here are some thoughts and observations last night from being at the game, without being a stat junkie. Basically it's all about feel when I go to games. The stats in most cases confirm things.
Links from last night and from the Mystics:
1. Storm ownership was at the Phone Booth.
So was Svetlana Abrosimova, who is expected to be re-signed very soon, especially now that Victoria Dunlap was cut yesterday. Svet sat with the owners. I also saw Lisa Brummel, one of the owners and the HR Boss at Microsoft talking to Storm fans in the stands to see their team. Maybe I have a symptom of seeing that the "grass is greener," as an idiom of course, but both Brummel and Force 10 Hoops Chairwoman Dawn Trudeau appeared to be very transparent with their fans and comfortable in DC, and I think too comfortable, though much of it is because of the home team's woes.
2. A lot of Green and Gold in the stands.
I like the green and gold color scheme, because my college has those colors and I honestly like green and gold. But I don't wear college colors to a Storm game. Didn't feel too great as a fan to be honest to see Storm Crazies, whether they're from Washington State or Washington DC. I don't care. I get that when teams are bad, the good road teams can take over the arena. But some sections besides the one closest to the Mystics' bench felt a little like KeyArena.
3. Washington Wizards forward Jan Vesely was sitting in the stands.
Pretty much it is what it is. He was there. Now if only he can develop any semblance of a shot over this offseason in addition to his off-the-ball play.
4. Lacey still has issues with her frontcourt and backcourt lineups.
I noticed that Natalie Novosel didn't play last night. However, two of her best three players, Currie, and Ajavon are sometimes starting or sometimes off the bench, I don't know what lineup she wants as her 1st line players, and what players are going to be on her 2nd line. I really don't.
Also, Ashley Robinson started the season as the starter at center. She then fell to being Michelle Snow's backup and played spot minutes, if that in her last couple games. I honestly don't think she is a bonafide starter for a WNBA team, but she can contribute effectively as a backup, like we saw in Seattle last season.
5. The Postgame Presser by Coach Lacey just leaves me speechless.
I get that a coach can say "we are looking for our identity" three to five games into a season, even when there are 34 games. Saying this 11 games or 32% into the season? Unacceptable. I put the link above for you to see it.
6. The Storm is back!
Five wins in a row. Great win streak after that horrible start. However, the naysayers will say that three of those wins were against the Shock and Mystics. True, but the Storm also had wins over Minnesota, a more talented team, and San Antonio, another team with a top notch sharpshooting guard named Becky Hammon. Even with the Shock and Mystics wins, the Storm never let these two teams have a real serious shot at winning the games either. Minnesota almost lost to the Mystics. Indiana did. The Sparks lost to the Shock yesterday. I'm sold. The Storm is back in business. Could be a really scary team once Jackson returns and assuming that she doesn't negatively alter the budding chemistry of the current lineup.
7. Okay, Storm ownership was here, so where is the Mystics ownership?
Well, they were not visible as far as I know. Monumental Sports was stoked to announce that New Jersey Devils assistant and longtime former Capitals player Adam Oates was named the head coach for the Caps yesterday. Great! On top of that, he's inducted in the hockey hall of fame on the same day. Also, great! The Wizards draft party is tomorrow at the Phone Booth and make a pick and possibly make a trade even on draft night to improve the team. Great three. I support my local teams, so I'm pleased with them. I'm a Wizards season ticket holder, I'm sure as hell going to be at the party. On top of it all, they're very transparent (for owners' standards at least) in terms of letting the fans know what direction they're heading in. This most notably done on Ted Leonsis' blog. I actually like reading it every day, especially the technology pieces to be honest with you.
For the Mystics however, there really is no transparency on how the team is doing on a basketball side lens. So when am I going to see any change to the status quo which I think everyone can say is unacceptable?
Either way, last night's game just wasn't that exciting to see as a Mystics fan, and though I don't want to admit it, I did come to the game last night instead of just cutting my losses partly because the Seattle Storm was playing, one of my friends wanted to see the game, and because I honestly admire Sue Bird's game. But I swear, I didn't openly cheer for her with the Storm fans. That can wait until this July. Now if only either DC professional basketball team can have a guard with a shot AND basketball IQ like hers in the hopefully very near future, that would be bliss.