Opponent: Phoenix Mercury
When: 7 p.m.
Where: US Airways Center, Phoenix
TV: None Radio: KTPK 1090 AM
The Storm concludes the first half of the WNBA season tonight against Phoenix Mercury. The game comes just five days after the Storm defeated the Mercury 83-68 at KeyArena.
Seattle is are looking to rebound from a disappointing loss to Atlanta at home on Wednesday and head into the month-long Olympic break on a positive note.
Currently, the Storm have firm control of the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and can extend that lead even further today with a victory. Phoenix comes into the game at 4-14 and trails the 8-10 Storm by four games for the fourth and final playoff spot.
A victory in tonight’s game also keeps the Storm within shouting distance of the top three teams in the west, Minnesota (15-4), San Antonio (12-5) and Los Angeles (14-6). Though the Storm have some work to do to catch up to those teams, the return of Lauren Jackson after the Olympics should help them make a second half run.
If the Storm are to beat the Mercury for the second time in a week, they could use another performance from Sue Bird like the one they got on Sunday. Bird finished with 31 points and shot 10-for-11 from the field in perhaps the most efficient offensive game of her career. She finished just two points off of her career-high.
While another performance of that magnitude is unlikely, the banged up Storm do need Bird to be aggressive offensively. Center Ann Wauters is unlikely to play with an injured Achilles and forward Tina Thompson will almost certainly be out with a strained left knee. That means, not only are the Storm missing two of their more accomplished scorers, but that they can also dress just eight players.
The Storm have been in that situation for the past two games, while it didn’t bother them last Sunday, Atlanta did expose their lack of depth on Wednesday.
Maybe all the Storm really need to do is play defense the way they did their previous victory over Phoenix. Seattle held the Mercury to 32.8 percent (21-for-64) shooting from the field and just 11.8 percent (2-for-17) from the three-point line.
— Aaron Lommers, Herald Writer