Wednesday, July 20 – 12 p.m. PT
KeyArena | Seattle, WA
NBA TV; JOEtv
On July 8 against the Storm, San Antonio suffered the first of its four consecutive losses. Ever since winning their first game without leading scorer Kayla McBride, who is out for the season with a foot injury, the Stars have lost every contest by double digits to drop to a league-worst 5-17 on the year. Seattle (8-14) could move into a tie for the final playoff spot with a victory Wednesday.
In that July 8 matchup at San Antonio, rookie Breanna Stewart scored a game-high 21 points in a 78-68 win for the Storm. On June 14, Stewart and former college teammate Moriah Jefferson had 19 points apiece as the Stars earned a 77-70 victory. Heading into the final matchup of the season, Seattle is 21-11 all-time at KeyArena against the Stars.
Despite the loss, the Storm recorded a season-high 28 assists as a team against Chicago on Sunday compared to only 12 turnovers. Seattle, which ranks third in the league with 18.6 assists per game, has now reached 20 or more assists for five straight games. Sue Bird, who ranks second all-time in assists, is yet again atop the WNBA leaderboard with 5.8 helpers per game. Against Chicago, Seattle was paced by the career-high 10 assists of Jewell Loyd.
In addition to Sue Bird leading the league in assists, rookie forward Breanna Stewart is tied for first in the league with 9.5 rebounds per game and ranks third with 2.0 blocks per game. Stewart ranks sixth in the WNBA with 19.1 points per game, while second-year guard Jewell Loyd is 10th with 16.1. Here is where Stewart ranks among rookies: first in points (19.1), first in rebounds (9.5), second in assists (3.7), first in blocks (2.0) and second in steals (1.3).
Wednesday’s game features an enticing matchup of a legendary point guard versus an up-and-coming star at the position. Seattle’s Sue Bird is coming off maybe her best game of the season, a 24-point outing on Sunday in which she went 4-of-6 from three-point range. San Antonio’s Moriah Jefferson is shooting 46.8 percent from downtown in her rookie season, the best percentage in the league among those who have attempted 40 threes. Jefferson also leads all rookies with 4.0 assists per game.
- Seattle will be without forward Ramu Tokashiki, who is missing a pair of games to fulfill her Olympic Team duties. Tokashiki is set to represent Japan in the 2016 Olympics and will return to Seattle after the tournament in Brazil. This will mark the first Olympic appearance for Tokashiki, a three-time Most Valuable Player in Japan’s WJBL. The 25-year-old previously led her National Team to titles at the 2013 and 2015 FIBA Asia Championships, where she also earned MVP honors.
- Following Wednesday’s game, the Storm will travel to Minnesota to face the Lynx on Friday in its final game before the month-long Olympic break. Seattle then returns to action on Aug. 26 at KeyArena against the league-leading Los Angeles Sparks.