Game: Seattle Storm (1-3) at Los Angeles Sparks (4-1) When: 5:30 p.m. Sunday Where: The Staples Center Meeting: third (Parks lead 2-0) TV: Kong 6/16
The Storm will try to build off an encouraging home win when it begins a season-long five-game road trip Sunday against the Los Angeles Sparks. Meeting for the third time in five games, Seattle will try to limit former WNBA MVP Candace Parker and Kristi Toliver to avoid their third loss in as many games to their Western Conference rival.
The Storm must also erase memories of a dramatic 72-66 loss to the Sparks in its season opener. Seattle blew a 21-point lead late in the second half as Toliver sealed the game with a trey from the top of the key with under a minute remaining.
Fresh off a defensive performance that limited the Tulsa Shock to just 28 percent shooting, Brian Agler’s squad will be faced with containing WNBA No. 1 pick Nnemkadi Ogwumike. Ogwumike was named WNBA Rookie of the Month in May, leading her draft class with 13.8 ppg on nearly 60 percent shooting.
The Storm also will likely to try ramp up the defensive pressure against Toliver. The LA point guard committed a WNBA record 14 turnovers before knocking in a three at the buzzer to beat Tulsa Friday.
Storm center Ann Wauters will need to regain her shooting touch after scoring just two points against Tulsa after averaging 15 through the team’s first three games. Meanwhile, look for Sue Bird to continue her recent hot perimeter shooting against an LA team that allows opponents to drain 40 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
- Sue Bird’s 27 points in Friday night’s win over the Shock raised her scoring average to 13.5 ppg.
- Storm head coach Brian Agler became the winningest coach in the history of women’s professional basketball with the victory over Tulsa.
- Storm power forward Camille Little went 10-for-12 from the free throw line on Friday, raising her mark to 74 percent.
- No. 2 draft pick Shekinna Stricklen has struggled in the early part of her WNBA career. Coming off the bench, the former standout at the University of Tennessee is averaging just 6.5 ppg on 35 percent shooting.
- Agler said after Friday night’s win he was unsure whether Katie Smith would remain in the starting lineup Sunday against LA in place of Tina Thompson. Thompson came off the bench Friday and drained a pair of threes on her way to scoring eight points.
- Former Sparks head coach and NBA veteran Orlando Woolridge died at 52 Thursday. His son Royce plays for Ken Bone at Washington State University. Woolridge coached the Sparks to a 32-30 record in the 1998-1999 season.
- LA’s Parker was named the Western Conference Player of the Month in May. She averaged 18 ppg through the season’s first five games. Parker is married to former Duke power forward Shelden Williams.
- Ogwumike and Stricklen played on the FIBA Americas U18 team together in 2008.
Coaches: Brian Agler is in his fifth season with the Storm. LA’s Carol Ross is in her first season with the club.
Coming Up: The Storm head back to Minnesota to take on the Lynx Wednesday.
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||—||—||—|