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.
After splitting their preseason series with the Phoenix Mercury, the Seattle Storm officially tip off what is a highly anticipated 2017 campaign against the defending WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks Saturday. Then it’ll be a quick turnaround as they travel back home for a Sunday matinee with the Indiana Fever.
While it’s not a title-or-bust kind of year for Seattle, expectations are high for a team that posted the seventh-best record (16-18) in the league a season ago. WNBA.com’s Brian Martin ranked the Storm fifth in his opening-week power rankings—an assessment shared by the 16 members on the panel for the Associated Press’ preseason poll.
Let’s take a look at some broad storylines to follow over Seattle’s first two games and a few keys for the Storm to get the year off to a strong start. Continue reading →