Game: Seattle Storm (4-7) vs. Washington Mystics (2-7) When: 4 p.m. Sunday Where: KeyArena Meeting: First TV: None
Winners of three straight, the Seattle Storm’s path back to .500 becomes less daunting when it caps a three-game home stand against the Washington Mystics Sunday at KeyArena. Washington’s 77-70 loss to the Phoenix Mercury Wednesday marked four losses in the past five games for a club at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
The Storm looked headed in a different direction after an efficient 82-76 win over the San Antonio Silver Stars on Friday. Seattle’s well-rounded scoring attack and much-improved play from point guard Tanisha Wright sparked the Storm’s best part of the season.
Storm guard Sue Bird said the worst is over for a Seattle squad quickly ascending the Western Conference standings.
“In terms of actual time it’s not that long,” Bird said Friday when asked how far removed her club is from a recent 1-5 road trip. “In terms of strides we have made, it feels like more than a month, more than two months maybe. I just think we’ve really come together and figured out how we need to play and what we need to do to be successful.”
Head coach Brian Agler’s ability to define roles for a host of new faces through the early part of the season has also been key, according to the 12-year veteran.
“All of us have kind of taken on whatever role that is asked of us,” Bird said. “It’s not always going to be the prettiest, but when you can rely on something it allows you to play better.”
The Storm will rely on center Ann Wauters to shut down Washington leading-scorer Crystal Langhorne in the Sunday matinee. The power forward from the University of Maryland is averaging 15.6 points and 7 rebounds nine games into her fourth WNBA season.
- Plagued by inconsistent play through the first 10 games, Wright finished Friday’s win with 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
- Six Storm scored in double figures Friday. Wright made certain Katie Smith’s three with just under two minutes didn’t go to waste by knocking down eight of ten free throws down the stretch.
- The Storm is averaging 68.4 points per game while averaging 72 possessions per 40 minutes.
- Sue Bird had just 10 points Friday, but her two crucial free throws with under 20 seconds remaining gave the Storm a four-point lead.
- No. 2 overall draft pick Shekinna Stricklen continues to struggle. She played just 15 minutes on Friday while connecting on one of three shots.
- Washington forward Monique Currie is second on the team in scoring, 10.9 points a contest.
- The Mystics’ last win came in a 67-66 victory over the Indiana Fever on June 15.
- Washington has lost five of its seven games by single digits.
Coaches: Brian Agler is in his fifth year with the Storm. Trudi Lacey is in her first season with Washington.
Coming Up: The Storm and Mystic fly cross-country to meet each other again Tuesday at 4 p.m. in Washington D.C.
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||L||65-67||1-4|
|6/9/12||at San Antonio||L||67-80||1-6|
|6/22/12||vs. San Antonio||W||82-76||4-7|
|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||—||—||—|