Seattle Storm Game Preview: Her Again!?

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When you have to face Brittney Griner twice in four days

Upon visiting the Columbus Zoo to view the Christmas lights this past winter, our group was taken to the polar bear exhibit. The trainers informed us that while extremely cute, polar bears are killing machines and that you could survive for mere minutes—if that—were you to fall into their enclosure. There is no escape, there is nowhere to hide. The polar bears will find you and feast on you without remorse.

That’s kind of how it feels when you’re watching Brittney Griner. There’s an imminent sense of danger when she gets the ball on the low block or she’s standing anywhere inside six feet of the basket on defense. And there’s nothing you can do to stop her. Brittney Griner is inevitable.

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What’s the Seattle Storm’s Bar for Success in 2018?

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 TimesPercy 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.

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Seattle Storm 2018 WNBA Season Preview

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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.

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The Storm Kick the Can Down the Road

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

Seattle Storm Weekend Review: Sue Bird Can’t Come Back Soon Enough

The Seattle Storm wrapped up their first weekend of the 2017 WNBA season, splitting their two games. They lost 78-68 to the Los Angeles Sparks Saturday and rebounded with an 87-82 victory over the Indiana Fever Sunday.

Going 1-1 wasn’t a bad outcome for Seattle since the Storm were without Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart against the Sparks and Bird didn’t play against the Fever. Granted, Los Angeles didn’t have the services of Candace Parker, Jantel Lavender or Essence Carson, so the Sparks weren’t exactly at full strength, either.

If anything, the opening weekend offered a strong argument as to why Bird may be the team’s most valuable player. In her absence, the Storm turned the ball over 23 times against Los Angeles and 20 times against the Fever. Seattle averaged the third-most turnovers (14.4 per game) in the league last year, so it wasn’t a surprise Bird’s injury coincided with a spike in that category. Continue reading

Seattle Storm Weekend Preview—at Sparks (May 13); vs. Fever (May 14)

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