The 2018 season was the perfect antidote for Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis following a 2017 campaign in which she battled both a knee injury and erratic playing time.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis By the Numbers
Since You’ve Been Gone
With the passage of time, it looks even more like Jenny Boucek simply didn’t favor Mosqueda-Lewis—for whatever reason.
Under Dan Hughes, Mosqueda-Lewis started four games—compared to one start through her first three years—and played a career-high 442 minutes. She also played at least 15 minutes in 12 of her 33 appearances, up from three times in 18 games in 2017.
Mosqueda-Lewis appeared to find a comfort zone with Hughes at the helm. She shot 42.0 percent from three-point range—her previous best was 35.4 percent—and 41.2 percent from the field. The latter figure was a step backward from 2017 (45.6 percent), but that was largely a byproduct of Mosqueda-Lewis taking more of her shots from the perimeter. Her three-point attempt rate climbed from 50.0 percent to 54.7 percent, per Basketball Reference.
The Seattle Storm picked up another big win Friday against the Connecticut Sun, handing the Sun their third straight loss in an 103-92 victory.
Breanna Stewart nearly had a double-double, scoring 23 points and grabbing nine rebounds, while Natasha Howard had a team-high 25 points. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis also delivered 18 points off the bench to make up for inefficient performances by Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd, who combined to shoot 6-of-25.
Although the Sun only shot 8-of-26 from beyond the arc, they had a lot of success inside. Chiney Ogwumike had 30 points on 13-of-16 shooting, while Jasmine Thomas poured in 29 points.
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.
After being outscored 19-10 in the fourth quarter, the Seattle Storm were able to hang on for a 101-74 win Thursday night against the Las Vegas Aces.
The Storm broke a WNBA record by hitting 17 three-pointers, which came on just 26 attempts. It was that kind of night for Seattle as the team could hardly put a foot wrong. Jewell Loyd scored 20 points, her fifth straight 20-point scoring game, while Breanna Stewart led the team with 21 points.
A’ja Wilson was excellent on offense (21 points), but the Aces continued to struggle with three-point shooting. Las Vegas was 1-of-9 from beyond the arc.
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.
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.
A little over eight months after their 2017 season ended at the hands of the Phoenix Mercury, the Seattle Storm will open their 2018 campaign at home May 20 against Phoenix.
Before that, the Storm and Mercury will meet twice for a pair of preseason games in May.
To some extent, Seattle’s disappointing first-round playoff exit may benefit the team this year. The Storm could be the biggest post-hype sleeper in the WNBA.
Mechelle Voepel of espnW.com and Brian Martin of WNBA.com both listed Seattle at No. 5 in their preseason power rankings in 2017. Expectations were high, and the Storm got fans even more excited with a 4-1 start to the regular season. Then came a humbling 100-77 defeat to the Minnesota Lynx at KeyArena, and things were never the same for Seattle.
It’s probably not a stretch to say Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ Seattle Storm career hinges on the 2018 season.
She’s coming off what was arguably her worst season in a generally underwhelming WNBA career to date. Mosqueda-Lewis averaged a career-low 11.1 minutes per game, which then led to her scoring a career-low 4.6 points per game. She also shot just 29.4 percent from three-point range.
Compounding matters, Mosqueda-Lewis had her knee scoped last June, so she missed all of June and didn’t return until Seattle’s 83-79 loss to the Connecticut Sun on July 12.
I started working on this before going to work Thursday afternoon, and while I was working, the Seattle Storm went ahead and fired Jenny Boucek, naming Gary Kloppenburg as the interim replacement.
As a result, this transformed from an another airing of grievances with the Storm’s direction into a treatise about what went wrong for Boucek.
During a 2017 season that has been disappointing in virtually every facet for the Seattle Storm, the team’s lack of offensive adventure is one of the most underwhelming aspects and arguably most justified Boucek’s firing. Continue reading →
The Seattle Storm maintained the status quo through the WNBA trade deadline, failing to capitalize on their last opportunity reinvigorate what has been an underwhelming 2017 season.
One can understand general manager Alisha Valavanis’ desire to avoid being too reactionary following the team’s 10-13 start. Things are bad enough as is; making a shortsighted move would only compound matters.
At the same time, this past weekend demonstrated that something is fundamentally broken with the Storm. Continue reading →