The Seattle Storm promoted Rhea to general manager in April 2021, by which time the team had already executed their biggest offseason moves. While she had been the assistant GM under Alisha Valavanis since 2019, she hasn’t yet had the opportunity to truly leave her imprint on the roster.
That will change this winter.
The Storm’s official roster at the moment is a bit sparse.
This was likely entirely by design based on Seattle’s offseason business in 2021. The team didn’t re-sign Alysha Clark and traded the pair of Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb, both of whom were free agents, to the New York Liberty. While that hindered the Storm’s chances of successfully defending their WNBA title, it cleared the deck for 2022, when they had a slew of players out of contract including Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, Mercedes Russell and Jordin Canada.
You might think you are in control when you take a 19-point lead on the Seattle Storm. Alas, you have merely fallen into Dan Hughes’ well orchestrated plan.
Many people (myself included) left the Storm for dead at halftime. A late layup by Breanna Stewart made it a 15-point game in favor of the Minnesota Lynx, who were seemingly scoring at will inside with Sylvia Fowles. This was two days after the Las Vegas Aces pounded Seattle for 48 points in the paint, and the same story appeared to be playing out Tuesday.
But a second-half surge, including a 37-point fourth quarter, propelled the reigning WNBA champions to a 90-78 victory on the road. Jewell Loyd, Jordin Canada and Sue Bird combined for 60 points to compensate for Stewart’s off night. The team combined to go 12-of-25 from beyond the arc, claiming a 21-point edge in three-point shooting.
To borrow the soccer cliche, this was truly a game of two halves.
Three days after beating the Las Vegas Aces 97-83 in their 2021 WNBA season opener, the Seattle Storm will be back in action against the 2020 runners-up.
The curtain-raiser couldn’t have gone much better after a shaky start for Seattle. Early into the first quarter it appeared as if the Storm would struggle to handle Las Vegas’ frontcourt combination of A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage. While Wilson ultimately finished with 24 points, her efforts proved to be futile as Seattle buried the Aces under a barrage of three-pointers.
As great as the defending WNBA champions looked, fans would be wise to recall the team’s start to the 2018 season. The Storm fell to the Phoenix Mercury in their opener before earning a 16-point win three days later en route to standing tall at the end of the year.
Saturday was a reminder of why Seattle could potentially lift another title despite losing Natasha Howard and Alysha Clark in the offseason. The discourse could shift a bit if the Aces bounce back with a comprehensive win Tuesday. Here are some storylines to watch.
The Seattle Storm improved to 2-0 with a comprehensive 90-66 win over the Minnesota Lynx.
Seattle took control in the third quarter, outscoring Minnesota 28-17.
Breanna Stewart posted her first double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) of the young season. Sue Bird (16 points) was the only other player to score in double figures. Everybody who saw the court for Seattle made at least one field goal to underscore what was a balanced offensive showing.
The Lynx didn’t have that luxury, partially due to injuries. Karima Christmas-Kelly (ankle) and Lexie Brown (head) both left the game before it concluded.
Napheesa Collier, Damiris Dantas and Sylvia Fowles combined for 44 points, but Minnesota’s support beyond that was lacking.
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.
The Seattle Storm held on for an 84-82 victory Tuesday night against the Indiana Fever.
A foul on Natalie Achonwa helped decide the outcome as Jewell Loyd made a pair of free throws with 24.4 seconds remaining to put Seattle ahead. Loyd hit another free throw to make it a two-point game with 9.1 seconds left.
Loyd had 18 points, three rebounds four assists and three steals in the win. Mercedes Russell (13 points) and Natasha Howard (26 points) both set career highs in scoring and narrowly missed out on double-doubles, collecting eight and nine rebounds apiece.
Kelsey Mitchell went off for 21 points, while Candice Dupree had a double-double (10 points, 15 rebounds).
The Seattle Storm lost to the Chicago Sky for the second time this season, falling 78-71 on Sunday in Chicago.
The first quarter doomed the Storm as they fell behind 29-13, a deficit that ballooned to 26 points midway through the second quarter. In the second half Seattle looked like it might pull together an improbable comeback, but the gap was too large to overcome.
Jewell Loyd and Natasha Howard each scored 20 points. Jordin Canada had seven points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Cheyenne Parker was the standout performer for the Sky, coming off the bench to post 18 points and 11 rebounds. The Storm did a good job of limiting Allie Quigley’s impact, holding her to four points, while Diamond DeShields was 3-of-11 for seven points.
Offensively, though, Seattle simply wasn’t good enough.
Following an ugly loss to the Minnesota Lynx, the Seattle Storm rebounded with a commanding 82-66 win over the Atlanta Dream on Friday night.
Natasha Howard led all scorers with 19 points and added 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks to an excellent all-around night. Jordin Canada chipped in with 12 points and seven assists, while Jewell Loyd finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and four dimes.
Tiffany Hayes battled foul trouble early on and never found her groove, scoring nine points on 2-of-4 shooting. Renee Montgomery had a night to forget as well, shooting 1-of-6 for three points.