Sunday, July 17 – 4 p.m. PT
KeyArena | Seattle, WA
NBA TV; JOEtv
Coming off a victory over the Dallas Wings on Friday, the Sky (9-12) is one game ahead of the Storm (8-13) heading into Sunday’s crucial matchup at KeyArena. Seattle earned a wire-to-wire victory over the Washington Mystics on Friday, and with another win Sunday night, the Storm could move into a tie with Chicago and Washington for seventh in the league standings.
Seattle leads the all-time series with Chicago 12-8, including a 7-3 record at home. Last year, however, the Sky won both matchups by double digits on its way to earning the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Last week, veteran point guard Sue Bird became just the sixth player in league history to reach 700 career three-pointers. Bird currently ranks second among active players with 701 threes made (Diana Taurasi, 875), and her career 38.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc ranks fourth all-time. In her 15th year with the Storm, Bird has been even more efficient at the three-point line than her previous few seasons, as her 41.6 percent shooting is the two-time champion’s best percentage since 2011.
Second-year wing Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis has been given significantly more playing time over the last four games, and her three-point shooting off the bench has been a much-needed boost. After scoring a season-high 12 points on four three-pointers Friday night, Mosqueda-Lewis has now hit at least two three-pointers in three of her last for appearances. The UConn product is averaging 9.8 points on 10-of-18 from behind the arc in that span.
Before Breanna Stewart became the No. 1 pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft, ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo said of her, “I think she’s going to make an immediate impact, kind of like Elena Delle Donne did her rookie year.” Stewart has certainly done that, thus far ranking first in the league in rebounds (9.6 per game) and sixth in points (19.0). She is first in just about every category among rookies. On Sunday, Stewart will play her first pro game against the player she is most often compared to. Stewart’s rookie numbers are actually superior to those of Delle Donne, the reigning MVP who averaged 18.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in her first season in 2013.
- This will be the first Storm game with the No. 15 of Lauren Jackson hanging from the rafters at KeyArena. Jackson returned to Seattle this week for the first time since 2012, and the Storm honored her in a postgame ceremony to retire her jersey. Nobody will wear No. 15 for the franchise again.