While the WNBA offseason is far from over, the biggest dominoes appear to have fallen ahead of the draft in April.
Once again, the Storm have opted for a more subdued approach, an understandable strategy with Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird back from season-ending injuries. In addition, Seattle had few roster spots available, with Courtney Paris, Blake Dietrick and Shavonte Zellous the team’s only free agents.
Let’s take a look at what has happened so far and what general manager Alisha Valavanis might still have up her sleeve.
The Seattle Storm somehow held on to a 69-66 win over the Las Vegas Aces on Friday night.
Seattle won despite shooting just 27.8 percent from the floor, though the team owned a 12-point advantage in three-point shooting. The Storm also forced 21 turnovers, which generated 22 points. Their 18 steals were a franchise record.
Natasha Howard was the game’s leading scorer (21 points), while Sami Whitcomb rode a hot first quarter to a 14-point outing.
Liz Cambage posted a double-double (16 points, 14 rebounds) for the Aces. Kelsey Plum didn’t enjoy her return to Hec Edmundson Pavilion, shooting 3-of-11 for 10 points.
With Friday’s victory, the Storm (12-8) move up to fourth in the WNBA standings.
The Seattle Storm nearly threw away a 21-point lead Wednesday night against the Minnesota Lynx before holding on for a 90-79 victory.
Seattle fended off Minnesota’s late charge, scoring 10 unanswered points in the final three minutes to earn its 11th win and move to fourth in the WNBA standings.
Natasha Howard had a career-high 33 points and was one of four Storm starters to score in double figures. Sami Whitcomb shot 5-of-11 from beyond the arc en route to a 15-point night and added eight assists.
Lexie Brown was a big reason for the Lynx’s second-half turnaround as she scored a team-high 20 points. But Odyssey Sims and Napheesa Collier were a combined 5-of-23 for 13 points.
The Seattle Storm slipped to .500 (8-8) following a 77-66 defeat to the Atlanta Dream at home Friday night.
Little went right for Seattle offensively until the fourth quarter. The Storm opened the game on an 11-0 run yet finished with just 24 first-half points. They shot 36.4 percent from the field and 7-of-27 from beyond the arc for the game.
Natasha Howard had a team-high 20 points but got little from the supporting cast. Jordin Canada (15 points) and Alysha Clark (12 points) were the only other Storm players to score in double figures. Nobody else had more than six points.
Tiffany Hayes led all scorers with 21 points and Elizabeth Williams nearly had a double-double (10 points, nine rebounds). The Dream improved what remains the WNBA’s worst field-goal percentage (.374) by making 42 percent of their shots.
The Seattle Storm now sit third in the WNBA after defeating the Chicago Sky 79-76 on Friday in Seattle.
Five different Storm players scored in double figures. Jordan Canada’s 17 points led the team, and she added six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Natasha Howard shot only 3-of-14 from the field but got to the free-throw line nine times, which helped her pour in 14 points. She was one rebound short of a double-double as well.
Diamond DeShields had a game-high 19 points but shot 0-of-5 from beyond the arc. Jantel Lavender earned a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) in the defeat.
One game separates the Storm from the second-place Washington Mystics and they’re 1.5 games off the Connecticut Sun.
The Seattle Storm took both games in their return home over the weekend, beating the Los Angeles Sparks 84-62 on Friday and then toppling the Indiana Fever 65-61 on Sunday.
Jewell Loyd was the leading scorer on each occasion, going off for 23 points against the Sparks and then 21 against the Fever. Loyd sank the decisive bucket Sunday, laying the ball in with 24.6 seconds remaining to give Seattle a two-point lead.
Natasha Howard strengthened her MVP campaign, posting 20 points and nine rebounds in the win over Los Angeles and following up with 17 points, six boards and four assists in the Storm’s seventh victory of the season.
Alysha Clark and Shavonte Zellous played pivotal roles in Sunday’s game, too. Clark had 11 points and five rebounds, while Zellous had 11 points and three assists in her second start as the Storm’s point guard.
The Seattle Storm are a little over a quarter of the way through the 2019 WNBA regular season, having compiled a 5-4 record through their first nine games.
Seattle’s hopes of successfully defending its 2018 championship appear slim, but the bar for success changed drastically when Breanna Stewart was lost for the year to a ruptured Achilles. Then came Sue Bird’s knee surgery that has delayed her season debut indefinitely.
Forget winning a title; just reaching the playoffs would be an achievement.