The Seattle Storm are now riding a four-game winning streak after defeating the Washington Mystics 81-77 on Tuesday night.
Laboring to a close victory over a full-strength Mystics squad would’ve been a nice result for Seattle. Washington, instead, was without Elena Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud, while Tayler Hill is still recovering from a torn ACL. The Mystics had an opportunity to tie the game in the final seconds and force overtime.
The Seattle Storm moved to 3-1 on the weekend with wins over the Chicago Sky and Las Vegas Aces.
Seattle outscored Chicago 25-14 in the fourth quarter Friday night to force overtime and eventually prevail 95-91. The Storm’s game against the Aces was the direct inverse, as they found themselves trying to protect a late lead against a surging Vegas squad. The Storm held on for a 105-98 victory despite giving up 63 points in the second half.
The Seattle Storm earned their first win of the 2018 season Wednesday night against the Phoenix Mercury, beating the Mercury 87-71 on the road.
Jewell Loyd was the game’s leading scorer, dropping 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting. She was also a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe. Loyd’s big night helped offset an uneven performance from Breanna Stewart, who narrowly missed out on a double-double (nine points, 11 rebounds) but had four turnovers and shot 3-of-12.
Defensively, the Storm did well to limit Phoenix’s supporting cast. Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi had 18 and 23 points, respectively, but DeWanna Bonner (nine points) was the team’s next-highest scorer.
Upon visiting the Columbus Zoo to view the Christmas lights this past winter, our group was taken to the polar bear exhibit. The trainers informed us that while extremely cute, polar bears are killing machines and that you could survive for mere minutes—if that—were you to fall into their enclosure. There is no escape, there is nowhere to hide. The polar bears will find you and feast on you without remorse.
That’s kind of how it feels when you’re watching Brittney Griner. There’s an imminent sense of danger when she gets the ball on the low block or she’s standing anywhere inside six feet of the basket on defense. And there’s nothing you can do to stop her. Brittney Griner is inevitable.
The Seattle Storm opened their 2018 WNBA season with an 87-82 defeat to the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday night in a game that offered reasons for optimism while also serving as a reminder of the team’s flaws.
Breanna Stewart filled up the stat sheet with 22 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks. Jordin Canada had a nice WNBA debut, finishing with nine points, one assist and four steals. Jewell Loyd struggled to get going, though, shooting 3-of-11 from the field to score 10 points.
The Storm had an opportunity to force overtime late in the fourth quarter. They inbounded the ball down 85-82 with 3.2 seconds remaining in regulation, but Stewart stepped out of bounds to give the ball back to Phoenix and extinguish any comeback attempt.
The interminable wait is nearly over, as the Seattle Storm are set to open the 2018 WNBA regular season and continue what feels like a best-of-57 series with the Phoenix Mercury.
The Storm and Mercury have seen a lot of each other lately. Phoenix bounced Seattle out of the playoffs last year, and the two teams had a pair of preseason games earlier this month. And after Sunday’s game at KeyArena, they turn right around for a rematch Wednesday at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Playing the Mercury not once but twice this early into the season can be both good and bad for the Storm.
Where do you realistically set expectations for a team coming off back-to-back playoff appearances but still hasn’t had a winning season since 2011?
“It’s time to start winning,” Breanna Stewart said during the Storm’s media day, per the Seattle Times‘ Percy Allen. “I don’t want to come off as crass or cocky or anything like that, but losing sucks. It does. That’s just how I feel about it. And, no, I won’t ever get used to it. I can’t. That’s not how I’m wired.”
The Storm certainly intimated as much, too, when they hired Dan Hughes. They could’ve opted for a first-year head coach who would need a few seasons to grow into the role. Instead, Seattle chose a 16-year veteran who has the third-most wins (237) of any coach in WNBA history.
It’s not a title-or-bust kind of season for the Storm, but 18-20 wins are probably the minimum requirement to avoid another disappointing campaign.