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.”
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 →
What in the world happened to the Seattle Storm team that started the year 4-1?
Seattle was riding high entering its June 3 game against the Minnesota Lynx and sat third in WNBA’s Week 3 power rankings. Then the Storm got outclassed by the Lynx and everything snowballed. Now Seattle is 6-7 overall and eighth in the WNBA standings.
It’s still too early to begin panicking about the Storm’s playoff chances, which isn’t to stay the team’s poor play should be dismissed offhand. In some cases, aspects of the Storm’s 2-6 run speak to what were genuine concerns coming into the year.
In no particular order, here are some of the factors that explain the Storm’s slide. Continue reading →
A big question around the Seattle Storm this season was whether they could succeed when any combination of Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart have an off night.
Last Friday against the New York Liberty, the trio combined to shoot 10-of-33 from the field, and 18 of their 45 collective points came from the charity stripe. Two days later against the Indiana Fever, they were more efficient (12-of-26) but scored 31 points.
Both of those games ended in victory for Seattle, in large part because of contributions they received from unlikely sources.
Sami Whitcomb came off the bench to drop 22 points on the Liberty, while Alysha Clark made her first nine field goals—a team record—en route to a 22-point day against the Fever. Continue reading →
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 →