Seattle Storm Game Review: (Insert Dog Pun)

Screen Shot 2018-06-10 at 11.54.55 PM
*Jim Halpert Face*

The Seattle Storm had their worst offensive game of the season Sunday against the Atlanta Dream, losing 67-64 at home in KeyArena.

The Storm shot 33.8 percent as a team and connected on just four of their 26 attempts from beyond the arc. Natasha Howard had a double-double (15 points, 15 rebounds),  but it was mostly a night to forget for Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd, who combined for 26 points. Stewart played just 19:30 while battling foul trouble.

Tiffany Hayes led all scorers with 23 points, while the Storm mostly held Angel McCoughtry in check, as she shot 6-of-19 for 15 points.

The Storm had a chance to tie the game with 1.5 seconds remaining, but Elizabeth Williams got a piece of Sue Bird’s inbound pass, which left Stewart unable to get off any real chance at the buzzer.

The Game in a GIF

Sue Bird Missed JumperSeattle was guilty of numerous self-inflicted wounds—poor shot selection and 17 turnovers—but it also kind of felt like something was cosmically against the Storm on Sunday night. This shot was a great example.

The Good

  • Natasha Howard’s double-double. Double-doubles are always good, right?
  • Defensively, the Storm couldn’t have done much else to get the win. They held Atlanta to 3-of-19 shooting from beyond the arc and forced 14 turnovers. In addition to Angel McCoughtry’s uneven offensive performance, Seattle limited Renee Montgomery to two points. When you keep an opponent to under 70 points and throw two of the team’s three best scorers off their game, you’re going to win most of the time. Sunday night was one of those exceptions.

The Bad

  • Semi-Regular Breanna Stewart Three-Point Shooting Update: 25.6 percent on the season.
    Even giving Stewart a freebie on her last-second heave, she still would’ve finished 1-of-4 from beyond the arc against the Dream. At a certain point, Stewart’s poor three-point shooting starts becoming a problem for Seattle.
  • As a longtime denizen of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis Island, Sunday was a bit of a tough watch. Although Mosqueda-Lewis hit her only three-pointer of the game, she finished with a 130.0 defensive rating in her 4:29 on the court. Especially in the first half, Layshia Clarendon was getting whatever she wanted when matched up against KML.KML DefenseKML Defense 2
    Mosqueda-Lewis is shooting better than she ever has in her WNBA career, but whether you can keep her out there for long stretches is a tough call when she has the third-worst defensive rating (101.1) on the team.

The Ugly

  • This was one of those Jewell Loyd performances that makes you tear your hair out. She clearly didn’t have her shot going Sunday night, yet she kept chucking anyway.
    It’s tough to be too critical of Loyd in a game like last night’s, though, when you struggled to find anybody who had a good offensive showing. Not to mention, Stewart spending so much time on the bench meant Loyd had to shoulder even more of the scoring burden.
  • Loyd’s backcourt mate didn’t offer a ton of help, either. Bird was just 2-of-11 from the field, including 0-of-6 from beyond the arc. Even worse, she had just three assists—her fewest of the season. As alluded to earlier, Bird didn’t have the greatest of luck. At the same time, her shot selection was far from perfect. When you can’t get anything to connect, maybe don’t spot up from three feet beyond the three-point line, even with the shot clock winding down. Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 11.43.42 AM
  • Whatever gripes the Storm players, coaches and fans have with the officiating—however legitimate they may be—Seattle was dreadful on offense. Just look at this shot chart.shotchart(1)It was like watching Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors. The Dream, who have the best three-point defense in the WNBA—suffocated Seattle on the perimeter, and the Storm had no response other than to keep heaving threes. Credit Atlanta’s defense for constantly hounding Seattle on the ball and reacting quickly off the ball to stay in position.
    There were a few calls that went against the Storm, and the referees wiped away what in retrospect where two important buckets in the first half—leading to a technical foul for Hughes. But when you commit 17 turnovers and miss 22 three-pointers, you only have yourself to blame for a loss.

The Verdict

This wasn’t the way to start a five-game home stand for Seattle, and the defeat was a bit of a reality check for the Storm after their massive victory over the Los Angeles Sparks. The quick turnaround before Tuesday’s game with the Chicago Sky will allow Seattle to quickly put this loss in the rear-view mirror.

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