NOT HAPPY: Both Agler and Sun coach Mike Thibault called quick timeouts, not liking what they’re seeing in the court. Sun was getting rolled over by Seattle, but changed their tune with some aggressive defense. Agler tried to reignite his team, but Sun is still chipping away at deficit, down 35-30 with 42.6 remaining in opening half.
COACHES CORNER: Chancellor isn’t the only D-I coach in the KeyArena house. Washington coach Tia Jackson also is here with players Sami Whitcomb, Kristi Kingma, and Regina Rodgers. They spoke to season-ticket holders prior to the game. Jackson has been out on the recruiting trail, but is only bringing on walk-on Amanda Johnson, a PG from Los Angeles. Jackson also said returning PG Christina Rozier is good after offseason leg surgery. Storm up 21-19 with 7:16 remaining in the second quarter. Asked both about the visible lack of support between college and WNBA and Chancellor said it’s because the college coaches are always out recruiting in non-WNBA areas. “If I wasn’t going on this cruise, I’d be out recruiting now,” he said.
END OF FIRST: The Storm opened on an 8-0 run, with Jackson scoring five early points. Bird took over from there with seven to lead Seattle to a 19-15 finish in the opening quarter. It took the Sun a minute to get their offense rolling, they’ve got a small lineup on the floor and are cause some matchup issues with Seattle. Stats are even across the board.
CANDYMAN: LSU coach Van Chancellor, who led the defunct Houston Comets to four WNBA championships is seated courtside with his wife. He spontaneously showed because the Tiger Alumni Foundation organized a cruise to Alaska and he’s the celeb guest speaker. But Chancellor spouted some bad juju for the Storm. “My greatest memory is when we came back here in the playoffs after losing at home and won those two games,” he said while flashing rock star hand gestures. “I’m not trying to gloat, but I replayed those two games over and over because those were two games that nobody — including me — thought we were going to win.” Chancellor’s coached one more season in 2006 before moving on to the college ranks. Known for throwing little candies to the crowd, Chancellor apologized to fans that he didn’t have any today as he signed autographs.
Storm F Lauren Jackson will start tonight. She didn’t like talking pre-game about the particulars of her injury, but basically it’s still diagnosed as a “jarred back” and she’s undergoing the normal treatment to continue to play. The team’s leading scorer (19.3), she has another doctor’s appointment on Friday.
“It’s painful, it’s really painful,” said Jackson, who’s minutes have decreased from 34 against Detroit to 18 against Washington.
Jackson and point guards Sue Bird and Shannon Johnson are wearing pink-accented shoes in honor of the WNBA’s Breast Health Awareness week. The team also is wearing pick shooting shirts and were set to play in all pink uniforms like Los Angeles on Tuesday, but Adidas wasn’t able to send the version in time. In fact, the company missed its date for other WNBA teams, so only the televised squads will be draped in pink to heighten awareness.
In addition to the cause, it’s a big game because the Storm could clinch their sixth consecutive playoff berth with a win against Connecticut. Jackson didn’t shoot well in a loss to the Sun on the road earlier this month. And it’s doubtful the back helps that cause.
But Connecticut is without leading scorer Asjha Jones (16.7), going 2-2 in her absence. The Sun has played a lot of close games and is unpredictable, needing to get a win themselves to ensure a playoff future.
No sense in talking about it, though, let’s get to it.
Here are your starting lineups:
F Anete Jekabsone-Zogota
F Kerri Gardin
C Sandrine Gruda
G Tan White
G Lindsey Whalen
F Swin Cash
F Lauren Jackson
C Camille Little
G Sue Bird
G Tanisha Wright
Tonight’s officials are Roy Gulbeyan, Tom Mauer, and Maj Forsberg.