No chance Pete Carroll will give you anywhere near that great a season this year.The win means Seattle's ladies of the hardwood have won almost 83 percent of their games this year. According to WNBA President Donna Orender, the most winning team in Seattle history until now was the 2005 Seahawks, who went to the Superbowl having won 81 percent of their regular season games (the percentage went down in the playoffs thanks to the team's Superbowl loss.)
That record is largely why, prior to tipoff, Storm Coach Brian Agler accepted the WNBA's "Coach of the Year" award and Lauren Jackson was named "Most Valuable Player" for the third year running.
While waiting for the press conference to announcing the honors to start, Jackson sat on a stage in the back hallways of the Key with Mark White of sponsor Kia Motors who would present her with her award. Jackson kicked her legs under what must have been the only chair tall enough to keep her feet off the ground.
"You nervous?" White whispered into her ear before the cameras started rolling.
Jackson's response wasn't audible, and she quickly got off the stage after accepting the trophy, saying in her thick Aussie accent: "Must go; there's a game to play."
Hyped up nerves--for both players and the bordering-on-neurotic fans--might explain the first three minutes of the game, in which neither team seemed able to sink a basket and the first points on the board came from free throws.
But approaching the four-minute mark, Sue Bird rocketed a pass to Swin Cash, waiting outside the three point line. Cash sank it, launching a run that led to a 47-33 lead by the end of the first half.
While the adorable Storm Dance Team kept the crowd going during the break, the Mercury apparently spent their time in the locker room changing their strategy.
Led by the tiny but mighty Temeka Johnson, they came out ready to do battle. In the second half, the fouls jumped, and so did the Mercury's point total.
The fans didn't take too kindly to the more aggressive opponent. Spit flew from one man onto the fingers of this reporter, sitting just in front of him, every time he felt the refs turned a blind eye to a shove that went too far.
The Mercury managed to claw back to within four near the end of the third quarter. But by the beginning of the fourth, Phoenix again found itself with a nine-point deficit. When the final buzzer sounded, the Storm's flawless record at home this season remained unblemished.
Jackson had 23 points on the board--in case you were wondering how she walked away with a third MVP trophy. Clearly any nerves she might feel at press conferences aren't reflected on the court.
And how did the Seahawks do in their preseason game against the Oakland Raiders tonight? Yeah, they lost.
If you want to see good sports in this town, you gotta watch the girls.