Opponent: Los Angeles Sparks
When: 1 p.m.
In a 34-game regular season, it’s hard to pinpoint one game as being a must-win. However, today’s game against the Los Angeles Sparks is as close as it gets for the Storm.
After Thursday’s 84-80 overtime loss to New York, Seattle remained two games behind Los Angeles for the fourth and final playoff spot in the WNBA’s Western Conference. The Liberty game was a missed opportunity. A victory over New York would have moved the Storm to within a game of the Sparks with a chance to draw even in the standings today.
The Storm (9-17) are not eliminated from playoff contention should they lose today, but they would fall three games behind the Sparks with seven games to play in the season. The Sparks also own the regular-season tiebreaker over the Storm, meaning Seattle would have to finish ahead of Los Angeles at the end of the regular season in order to make the postseason.
Basically, a loss means the Storm have to make up four games in their final seven, which is a tall order.
While the Storm needs to beat L.A. today, doing so is a tall order given the teams’ history this season. Three times the Sparks and Storm have played and three times the Sparks have won — and the games haven’t been very close.
Seattle’s biggest struggle has been slowing down the Sparks frontline of Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and Jantel Lavender. The trio combines to score more than 42 of the team’s 78.2 points per game average.
A loss today would be a season-high fifth consecutive for Seattle and would assure that it would finish the season with a sub-.500 record.
— Aaron Lommers, Herald Writer