With starters’ minutes still somewhat limited, the Storm fell yesterday in Washington to wrap up a three-game road trip. All the breakdowns follow.
Storm falls 80-71 to Washington Mystics – Jayda Evans, Seattle Times
Meanwhile, Storm players discovered it’s not easy to flick the competitive switch back on after resting. Jackson played 25 minutes after missing Friday’s game, a 20-point loss to Connecticut in which the starters didn’t play more than six minutes.
“This was good for us to get extended minutes for some people and sort of get back into the swing,” said Agler, whose team went 1-2 on its three-game, eight-day trip. “There were some good stretches of basketball, which I was happy to see. But we’ve got to finish layups, get better defensively and get our mentality back. You don’t do that overnight.”
Washington Mystics clinch WNBA playoff berth with win over Seattle Storm – Katie Carrera, Washington Post
As the Washington defense refused to cower when facing a roster full of all-stars, the Storm blinked. Offensive fouls by Swin Cash and Lauren Jackson on consecutive Seattle possessions led to the Mystics tying the score then taking a lead off a jump shot by Lindsey Harding. The game continued in close fashion, but Washington never trailed again in an eventual 80-71 win over Seattle (25-6) that brought the 9,438 at Verizon Center on Sunday afternoon to their feet for the final minute.
“Playing against a team like that, they play hard they’re physical, they have people who have a variety of things and you gauge yourself” with games like this, veteran guard Katie Smith said. “You understand the level that you need to be at every night. It’s fun to play against teams that are good and executing and playing well.”
Washington Win Completes East Playoff Field – Mel Greenberg, WomHoops Guru
Seattle, which clinched the top of its conference late last month, had been going a little easy, but Sunday night here, coach Brian Agler ramped it up a little more to get in postseason mode.
“I’m sure Connecticut is not happy with us,” Seattle All-Star guard Sue Bird said of the loss that put the Sun on the brink of elimination courtesy of the Mystics’ win.
But it was a moot point when Connecticut was unable to prevail for itself in a must-win situation and was doomed to a second straight season out of the playoffs.
Storm Finish East Coast Road Trip With a Loss in DC – Nate Parham, SB Nation Seattle
Perhaps after suffering their biggest loss of the season to the Connecticut Sun, the Seattle Storm felt that it was time to adjust the way in which they rested their starters.
Aside from star center Lauren Jackson playing just under 25 minutes, the Storm’s rotation looked a lot more normal but once again a hungrier team still fighting to secure a playoff spot won.
Statistical Summary of the Mystics’ Record 19th Win: Poise Prevails Over “Mystakes” – Q McCall, SwishAppeal.com
Storm statistical MVP: Sue Bird
Yet despite a strong performance down the stretch for the Mystics, it was the supposedly coasting Storm that played better in the first half to build a four point lead. A large part of that was the play of point guard Sue Bird who picked up 5 of her 7 assists in the first half with and finished with an outstanding assist ratio of 53.84% with a turnover percentage of 7.69% that led to an outstanding pure point rating of 14.66. She was also amazingly efficient as a scorer with her 4-4 three point shooting leading to one of those bizarre true shooting percentages: 120%. Overall, it’s difficult to imagine a much more efficient offensive performance from a point guard.
Seattle has built itself into a force – Matt Stout, Norwich Bulletin
“It’s something that we’ve talked about all season: What’s led us to where we are right now?” Seattle guard Sue Bird said. “Having the same starting group, adding the depth that we’ve been lacking the last couple years and the other side of it is the frustration of just getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs each of the last how many years. I can’t even count.
“I know where they (my teammates) are going to be at any given time on the court, and that comes with time. That’s not something (that comes) with a snap of the fingers.”