Opponent: Phoenix Mercury
When: 7 p.m.
Radio: KPTK 1090 AM
The Seattle Storm have been talking about securing the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference for quite some time now. The Storm have moved back and forth between the No. 2 and No. 4 for over a month now. Tonight, the scenarios are much less complicated – if the Storm beat the Phoenix Mercury at home, they clinch the second seed and home-court advantage in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs.
The Storm’s first round opponent would be the Mercury.
On paper, the challenge doesn’t seem too hard. Up until last month, the Storm had beaten the Mercury nine consecutive times, including sweeping them out of last year’s WNBA playoffs. But the Mercury finally ended that streak with an 81-79 victory in Phoenix on Aug. 16.
That victory could prove to be an important confidence builder for the Mercury, not just for the fact that they were finally able to beat the Storm, but rather how they beat them. Seattle led by as many as 18 points, but couldn’t close out the pesky Mercury, who earned a victory behind a steal and layup by Diana Taurasi in the game’s final seconds.
The Storm’s disappointment from that defeat could have lasted a while, but the news they got later that week made the loss to the Mercury a distant memory.
The 2010 WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson returned from hip surgery in the Storm’s next game and Seattle immediately went on a four-game winning streak. The Storm have zeroed in on the No.2 seed ever since.
Jackson has progressively increased her minutes since returning and should be well-rested for tonight’s game, the Storm have not played since defeating the San Antonio Silver Stars 70-60 on Saturday night.