In the end of Saturday night’s game with the Los Angeles Sparks, the Seattle Storm just didn’t have enough players.
Seattle fell 83-59 to the Sparks after trailing by just eight points at halftime. Two of the Storm’s top three scorers this season, guard Sue Bird and center Ann Wauters, both missed the game with injury and the Storm’s second leading scorer, forward Tina Thompson, went down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter.
With little offensive firepower, the Storm were outscored 42-26 in the second half.
Sparks head coach Carol Ross told her team to approach it like any other game.
“Like I told the players, this is Seattle and L.A.,” she said. “People in the uniform change from night to night for different reasons, but what is on the outside of the uniform doesn’t change. To our franchise and our fans, it is a big rivalry. We play it that way and I am proud of our intensity and our ability to come out strong.”
With the win, the Sparks improved to 4-0 against the Storm this season with just one meeting between the two teams remaining.
Bird missed the game with a hip flexor and there is no evidence that suggests she will miss extended time.
“Every once in a while you get banged up and timing doesn’t work out in your favor,” Bird said. “Coming into this weekend we had a back-to-back. It was recommended to get as much rest as possible, so it didn’t become a long-term issue.”
Both Wauters and Bird suited up for the game but were held out by head coach Brian Agler.
Playing without Lauren Jackson, who has missed the first half of the season training with the Australian national team, and limited to just 11 players, injuries can quickly make things difficult for the Storm.
“Obviously it is very tough,” Agler said. “I told the team that no one is feeling sorry for us and the other teams have been in this situation before. We did some good things today, we just didn’t have a lot of weapons. I thought we could have played a little more defensively at times especially in the first quarter and third quarter. I don’t fault our effort.”
The Storm’s biggest injury concern might be Thompson. She left the game helped to the locker room by Bird on one leg after a collision that hyperextended her left knee. The extent of the injury is unknown at this time, but it looked rather serious at the time.
Forward Camille Little led the Storm offensively scoring 12 points, Ewelina Kobryn and Shekinna Stricklen each added 11.
The Sparks had all five starters in double figures, including Kristi Toliver, who led the way with 23 points, and Candace Parker, who added 17 points and 14 rebounds.
The Storm face the Phoenix Mercury at 6 p.m. tonight at KeyArena.