There’s no question what’s at stake Friday when the Phoenix Mercury visits KeyArena (7:00 p.m., KONG 6/16, 1090 AM, TIX). Should the Mercury beat the Tulsa Shock tonight, the teams will go into Friday’s game knowing they will play each other in the first round of the playoffs – but not whether the series will open in Phoenix or Seattle. A Storm win would secure home court advantage in the matchup, while the Mercury winning on the road would put Phoenix a win away from hosting the series.
“It’s the deciding game for home court advantage,” said forward Camille Little. “I think it gets us over the hump with our series with them. [The Storm has won two of the three matchups thus far.] That’s important to most people. It’s important to us.
“Every game is important, but this really has some significance. We’ll go into it like any other game, but we want to make sure we have a good outcome.”
Don’t expect any rah-rah speeches from Storm Head Coach Brian Agler before tomorrow’s game. With a veteran team that understands the value of home court advantage, motivation should not be an issue.
“Our players don’t need a lot of pep talks and things like that,” said Agler. “They know what’s at stake. They’re great competitors and they’re hungry right now. Our job is to get them prepared and try to get them to game night healthy.”
To that end, the Storm had a light week of practice. After sweeping a back-to-back set on the road over the weekend, players had three days off to rest up for the final weekend of the regular season and the playoffs.
“We’re fresh, mentally and physically,” Agler explained. “It’s a catch-22. You don’t know how much time to give them off this late in the season because you don’t want to lose rhythm. I think we’re OK that way. We’ve had a couple of good days of practice. We’ll get ready to go tomorrow.”
CASH HONORED BY WNBA CARES
The league announced Thursday that Storm forward Swin Cash won the WNBA Cares Community Assist Award for the month of August. Cash credited everyone that helped her host two Cash for Kids events in the Seattle area last month as the reason she was recognized.
“I’m really happy for the kids that will benefit from this,” said Cash. “It’s an honor to win the award and be recognized, but I wouldn’t be able to receive this award without having a great team around me. My staff at Cash for Kids, the Storm organization, my Storm teammates, all of the fans and volunteers from the Boys & Girls Club really made August a success. I attribute this award to everyone that contributed.”
Cash for Kids will receive a $5,000 donation from the WNBA, which will go back to the young people that Cash’s charity serves.
“It means a lot because every dollar we put back into the community,” Cash explained. “Right now, we don’t have a lot of overhead. The money with the Storm Crazy T-shirt sales, all of that will be going back into the Seattle community and also to the McKeesport/Pittsburgh community. So knowing that kids are going to be helped in two different places is really great for us.”