Recapping last night’s loss in Los Angeles and also looking back to Friday’s happier result at KeyArena against Indiana.
We start with Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times, who was there to cover the game at the Staples Center and saw the Storm struggle on offense.
Storm forward Lauren Jackson was 1 for 6 from long range, rarely attempting to post up inside the paint. That kept Seattle (2-2) from getting a running game going, often looking staccato on offense while Los Angeles (3-1) was flashy with its reverse layins, spinning jumpers and fast-break buckets.
On SB Nation Seattle, Nate Parham traces the issues back to the Storm’s outside shooting.
The Storm, widely assumed to be the favorite to win the WNBA title for a second consecutive year prior to the season, simply didn’t have the firepower to match the Sparks’ hot shooting – they were outshot 49.2 percent to 30.3 percent in their first road game of the season.
Their offensive struggles stem at least partially from their inability to hit outside shots thus far this season – the Sparks were able to sit in a zone for as long as they wanted to and watch as the Storm shot 4-for-20 from the 3-point line. With a long frontline and depth off the bench, the Sparks just kept clicking even after the Storm cut the lead to single digits in the third quarter and outlasted their guests at the Staples Center.
On the other side, a balanced scoring attack stood out for the Sparks, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Three of the Sparks’ top scorers came off the bench.
Hoffman (12 points) and rookie Jantel Lavender (10) each had season highs, and Kristi Toliver added 11 points.
“We’re 11 deep,” Gillom said of her bench, which outscored Seattle’s reserves 40-7.
For Father’s Day, Evans wrote about the role Ify Ibekwe’s father played in the Storm rookie’s journey to the WNBA.
“He was the one that pushed me to play basketball,” said Ibekwe, a native Californian, of her father, Austine, who was skilled in soccer. “I wanted to act, I wanted to dance, I wanted to run track. I wanted to do a lot of stuff, but he was like, ‘No, really, your talent is basketball. You’ve got to stick with it.’ He was always at my games and my cheerleader.”
On Friday night, Aaron Lommers of the Everett Herald says the Storm’s defense – starting with guard Tanisha Wright – was key to victory.
One of the most basic fundamentals of basketball is defense. You don’t have to be that talented, you really don’t even have to be that athletic, you just have to work hard and good things will happen
On Friday night, the Storm followed that pattern to a T
That “T” could stand for Tanisha, as in Tanisha Wright.
Wright, along with a little help from her teammates, held the WNBA’s leading scorer Katie Douglas (21.3 points per game) to just 11 points. Indiana’s other major scoring threat offensively, Tamika Catchings, scored just eight points.
Parham’s analysis for Swish Appeal showed the Storm’s defense strategy working out.
Certainly part of that could be due to the Fever not taking care of the ball and putting post players in position to score, but part of it also has to be attributed to the Storm’s defense – put simply, they kept Douglas out of the game and contained Catchings and forced others to beat them.
Those others didn’t.
“They really try to run a lot of stuff for those two people,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “They’re great players and great competitors. We tried to do our best. I thought that Swin (Cash), Tanisha (Wright), Katie (Smith) – and Camille (Little) seemed to be switched off on them a great deal – they did a good job.”