The winless Seattle Storm return to the Key Arena Friday night reeling from a tough early-season schedule to take on the Tulsa Shock before returning to the road for a five-game swing.
Despite the surprising start from leading scorer Ann Wauters, the Storm have struggled in the paint while dropping to 0-3 for the first time since their inaugural 2000 season.
Now in her eleventh year in the league, former WNBA Rookie of the Year Sue Bird will look to rebound from her own rough start that has seen her scoring average drop to just nine points per game.
Fresh off an 84-71 loss to the Minnesota Lynx where Seattle jacked 34-three’s, the Storm will try to increase their presence inside the arc against a Tulsa team ranked last in the league defensively.
“We haven’t really been executing well enough to get ourselves easy buckets,” Bird said after their loss Sunday on the team’s website. “At the same time, a lot of what paint scoring can be is easy buckets in transition. That comes from our defense.”
Bird will look to continue to feed Wauters down low as Seattle continues to search for stopgap offensive solutions while Lauren Jackson trains for the Summer Olympics in Australia. The Storm is currently last in the league in two-point field goal percentage, making under 40 percent of their shots inside the arc.
After taking a three-year hiatus in Belgium, the 31-year-old Wauters has reestablished herself as a formidable interior presence, averaging 15 points and eight rebounds per game. Head coach Brian Agler will need Wauters to continue to pull down rebounds as the Storm enter the most difficult part of their schedule. Minnesota outrebounded Seattle 40-27 on Sunday.
- Bird shot just 2-10 from the field and 1-6 from three-point range in the team’s 84-71 loss to the defending WNBA champions on Sunday. She also had five of the team’s 17 turnovers.
- The Storm are 29-36 over the past decade when playing without Lauren Jackson.
- Seattle scored just nine points in the first quarter in their loss to the Lynx.
- Tina Thompson leads the team with nine treys in three games. Her performance from behind the arc ties her for second in the WNBA
- Head Coach Brian Agler is 91-48 in his fifth year in Seattle. The former women’s coach at Kansas State has a 133-102 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. Their next game on TV will be Sunday against the Sparks.
- The Shock is led by Temeka Johnson, whose 14.8 ppg are powered by a 66.7 three-point shooting percentage.
- The Tulsa Shock originally entered the WNBA as the Detroit Shock before their subsequent relocation in 2009. While in Detroit, the Shock won three WNBA titles from 2003 to 2o08.
- The Shock was coached by former college basketball coaching legend Nolan Richardson in 2011. Richardson, who won a national championship at Arkansas in 1994, also served as the team’s general manager.
- Kristi Tolliver sank a three-pointer at the buzzer Tuesday night in Los Angeles to beat the Shock 76-75.
COACHES: Brian Agler is in his fifth season as Seattle’s head coach. Gary Kloppenburg is in his first season in Tulsa.
COMING UP: Seattle takes on L.A. for the third time in five games Sunday in Los Angeles.
SEATTLE STORM 2012 SCHEDULE/RESULTS
|5/18/12||vs. Los Angeles||L||66-72||0-1|
|5/22/12||at Los Angeles||L||74-61||0-2|
|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||—||—||—|