Morning reading before the Storm tips off Game 2 in L.A. at 12 noon on ESPN2.
Tina Thompson, last original WNBA player, has carried L.A. this season – Jayda Evans, Seattle Times
“It’s not time to panic,” Sparks reserve Kristi Toliver said of Thompson’s postgame message. “She said we don’t need to play like our backs are against the wall, but we know this is a must-win game. It’s time to regroup, get it together and go get a win at home. We know how to beat Seattle; we just need to execute it.”
And you can bet Thompson will provide the example.
“I don’t expect them to roll over and die,” Storm guard Sue Bird said.
Storm looks to stamp out Sparks – Mike Allende, The News Tribune
Vesela was the surprise of Seattle’s 79-66 win Wednesday, making all four of her shots in the second quarter – including three 3-pointers – and scoring 11 points, helping the Storm to a 1-0 series lead.
The rookie from the Czech Republic caught many people off guard – including Los Angeles coach Jennifer Gillom – but not Vesela’s teammates. Storm coach Brian Agler said he would try to find a way to get Vesela more playing time when Seattle and the Sparks tip off Game 2 at noon today in Los Angeles.
Storm Hope to Seal First Playoff Series Win since 2004 in Los Angeles – Nate Parham, SBN Seattle
However, the difference this season for the multiple veterans on both sides that have won championships in the past is that the league changed its format from a 1-2 format to a 1-1-1 format. Although that swings the travel advantage to the higher seed who doesn’t have to travel for the first game of a series at the risk of a letdown putting them on the brink of elimination, Sparks forward Tina Thompson comes into Game 2 confident in their chances to push this series to a third and deciding game back at KeyArena. If the fourth-seeded Atlanta Dream’s surprising rout of the first-seeded Washington Mystics means anything, anything could happen in a one game elimination scenario.
Defensive ploys could lift Sparks in Game 2 – D.J. Foster, ESPNLA.com
Most defensive schemes in the WNBA can work just fine with switching principles due to the general lack of size differential between the players. Unfortunately for the Sparks, that doesn’t fly against the Storm because they employ three frontline players who are an absolute handful to guard in the post. In Game 1 the Sparks switched on a lot of off-ball screens which created easy interior looks for the Seattle bigs with the diminutive L.A. guards hopelessly trying to fend them off. The Sparks can trap, go zone, play straight up, collapse, double team and use everything else in the book defensively, but they just can’t afford to switch on screens and let players like Swin Cash kill them, either with the ball or on the offensive boards. Finding an answer to slow down Cash may be one of the more difficult tasks Sparks head coach Jennifer Gillom is charged with. The forward has led Seattle in scoring the last four times these teams have met in the playoffs.
Sparks face elimination against Seattle – Melissa Rohlin, Los Angeles Times
The Sparks’ season has come down to this: Lose Saturday and it’s over. But they aren’t fazed by it.
“When our back has been up against the wall, we’ve responded,” said forward DeLisha Milton-Jones. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Why the Storm call Jana Vesela Dirk and other playoff notes – Q McCall, SwishAppeal.com
“Yeah,” said forward Swin Cash after practice yesterday with a tinge of hesitation in her voice when asked about the Battier comparison. “She has that Shane game, but if you ever see her run, it’s hilarious — we always call her ‘Dirk’ because I swear, her swagger, is just like you’re never going to see her screaming and yelling. You’re never gonna see her too low. She’s just like [even] and it’s just so smooth. But she’s so long, she’ll do things like get a block or get a deflection and you’re like, ‘Where did Jana come from?’ And she just has these long arms and the way that her body is — I mean, she’s taller than A-Rob. So that’s a versatile player that I’m happy that we have on our team that we can really go to and give teams fits with the mismatches.”
Some audio – here’s Lauren Jackson with Linda Thomas on 97.3 FM. Brian Agler went on with Voice of the Storm Dick Fain on Sports Radio 950 AM.