The Seattle Storm somehow held on to a 69-66 win over the Las Vegas Aces on Friday night.
Seattle won despite shooting just 27.8 percent from the floor, though the team owned a 12-point advantage in three-point shooting. The Storm also forced 21 turnovers, which generated 22 points. Their 18 steals were a franchise record.
Natasha Howard was the game’s leading scorer (21 points), while Sami Whitcomb rode a hot first quarter to a 14-point outing.
Liz Cambage posted a double-double (16 points, 14 rebounds) for the Aces. Kelsey Plum didn’t enjoy her return to Hec Edmundson Pavilion, shooting 3-of-11 for 10 points.
With Friday’s victory, the Storm (12-8) move up to fourth in the WNBA standings.
The Seattle Storm nearly threw away a 21-point lead Wednesday night against the Minnesota Lynx before holding on for a 90-79 victory.
Seattle fended off Minnesota’s late charge, scoring 10 unanswered points in the final three minutes to earn its 11th win and move to fourth in the WNBA standings.
Natasha Howard had a career-high 33 points and was one of four Storm starters to score in double figures. Sami Whitcomb shot 5-of-11 from beyond the arc en route to a 15-point night and added eight assists.
Lexie Brown was a big reason for the Lynx’s second-half turnaround as she scored a team-high 20 points. But Odyssey Sims and Napheesa Collier were a combined 5-of-23 for 13 points.
The Seattle Storm now sit third in the WNBA after defeating the Chicago Sky 79-76 on Friday in Seattle.
Five different Storm players scored in double figures. Jordan Canada’s 17 points led the team, and she added six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Natasha Howard shot only 3-of-14 from the field but got to the free-throw line nine times, which helped her pour in 14 points. She was one rebound short of a double-double as well.
Diamond DeShields had a game-high 19 points but shot 0-of-5 from beyond the arc. Jantel Lavender earned a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) in the defeat.
One game separates the Storm from the second-place Washington Mystics and they’re 1.5 games off the Connecticut Sun.
Sami Whitcomb came from out of nowhere to become a role player for the Storm in her rookie year in 2017. She signed a multi-year extension with Seattle in February and experienced a somewhat up and down sophomore season in the WNBA.
However, Whitcomb raised her game in the postseason, earning plenty of plaudits in the process.
Sami Whitcomb By the Numbers
Perhaps it was unrealistic to expect the typical Year 2 jump from Whitcomb when she wasn’t a typical second-year player. Whitcomb was 29 when the 2018 season tipped off, an age where players have not only hit their ceilings but generally start falling off a bit.
The Seattle Storm are going to the 2018 WNBA Finals.
Seattle defeated the Phoenix Mercury 94-84 in Game 5 of the WNBA semifinals, outscoring the Mercury 35-21 in the fourth quarter, on Tuesday night in KeyArena.
Per usual, Breanna Stewart led the way with 28 points and seven rebounds. For long stretches, Stewart was single-handedly keeping the Storm afloat on offense as the team struggled with Phoenix’s suffocating defense.
Sue Bird was the big star, though, finishing with 22 points, including 14 in the final frame. Bird gave the Storm a 79-76 lead with 4:01 remaining, and her three-pointer with 2:51 left to put Seattle ahead by eight was essentially the death blow for the Mercury.
Diana Taurasi—who ICYMI was unbeaten in winner-take-all elimination games—had 17 points, while Brittney Griner posted 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
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.
Looking ahead to the 2018 WNBA season, no player is harder to project than Sami Whitcomb.
Expectations were so low for Whitcomb in her rookie season that it wasn’t even clear whether she’d make the Storm’s final roster.
“It was very much come to training camp and show us what you have and we’ll go from there,” she said last May, per the Seattle Times‘ Percy Allen. “That was as much as I could ask for, and I’m thrilled just for that chance.”