GAME: Seattle (0-1) at Los Angeles (1-0). WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. WHERE: Staples Center MEETING: 2nd. TV: None.
A gruesome second half collapse will need to be erased quickly from the collective memory of the Seattle Storm Tuesday as they engage in a rematch with the Sparks in Los Angeles following the season opening 72-66 loss at Key Arena.
After the Storm managed just 10 points in the fourth quarter, Sue Bird didn’t seem especially troubled despite surrendering a late 21-point lead. In her view, LA’s 30-10 run was a product of too many turnovers leading to easy baskets. The Sparks scored 30 points off 27 Seattle giveaways. Bird feels her team’s scoring struggles will diminish when players become accustomed to their offense as the season progresses.
“As the season goes day-by-day you’re going to see us get better,” Bird said Friday night. “Obviously adjustments are just running our offense more, getting more comfortable in it, getting where you’re not thinking- you’re just playing. As basketball players you can think too much. That’s when things get out of sorts.”
In addition to running the offense, Bird will be faced with shutting down LA’s Kristi Toliver. Toliver came off the bench Friday to torch Seattle, dropping 10 of her 25 points in the fourth quarter while dishing out six assists. Her step-back three with under a minute to play gave the Sparks a four-point lead Seattle was unable to overcome.
SERIES: Seattle is 16-18 at home and 24-31 all-time against LA.
COMING UP: The Storm head to Minneapolis Sunday for an afternoon tilt against the Minnesota Lynx.
- LA kicks off a five-game road trip for Seattle. The Storm don’t play again at Key Arena until June 17.
- The Storm are 29-34 over the past decade when playing without Lauren Jackson.
- After a nearly three-year absence from WNBA action to have a child, center Ann Wauters scored 17 points and collected seven rebounds in her season debut.
- Tina Thompson scored 12 points Friday, draining four of eight treys.
- Head Coach Brian Agler is 91-46 in his fifth year in Seattle. The former women’s coach at Kansas State has a 133-100 career mark over his eight-year WNBA coaching career.
- The Storm will be televised in 13 of their 32 regular-season games. They can be heard on 1090 KPTK-AM 1090.
LOS ANGELES STATS/NOTES:
- Despite Toliver’s 25 points, Sparks head coach Carol Ross wouldn’t commit to making a lineup change. “We’re going to play a lot of people. That’s just the way it goes,” she said. “Toliver is going to play a lot, whether she comes off the bench or whether she starts.”
- Friday night marked Nneka Ogwumike’s WNBA debut. The No. 1 overall draft pick dropped nine points on 50 percent shooting from the field.
- After trailing 35-24 at halftime, the Sparks outscored Seattle 38-21 in the second half.
- Ross, the former woman’s head coach for 16 years at Florida and Ole Miss, collected her first career win as a WNBA head coach on Friday.
COACHES: Brian Agler is in his fifth season as Seattle’s head coach. Carol Ross is in her first season as LA’s head coach.
SEATTLE STORM 2012 SCHEDULE/RESULTS
|5/18/12||vs. Los Angeles||L||66-72||0-1|
|5/22/12||at Los Angeles||—||—||—|
|6/3/12||at Los Angeles||—||—||—|
|6/9/12||at San Antonio||—||—||—|
|6/22/12||vs. San Antonio||—||—||—|
|6/30/12||at New York||—||—||—|
|7/7/12||at Los Angeles||—||—||—|
|8/18/12||vs. Los Angeles||—||—||—|
|8/26/12||vs. New York||—||—||—|
|9/14/12||at San Antonio||—||—||—|
|9/21/12||vs. San Antonio||—||—||—|