By Matthew Roberson
The Seattle Storm (5-5) is geared up to face former University of Washington standout and No. 1 overall draft pick Kelsey Plum and the San Antonio Stars (0-10) on Sunday, June 18 at KeyArena. The game is slated to tipoff at 4 p.m. PDT.
A loss on Tuesday gave the Storm its third straight defeat. After dropping two road games to Indiana (83-80) and New York (94-86), the Storm suffered a 91-86 setback at home to Atlanta in overtime.
In the losing effort to the Dream, Jewell Loyd matched her season-high by putting up 27 points. Breanna Stewart had 16 points of her own, while Crystal Langhorne notched her first double-double of the season with a stat line of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Sue Bird continues to climb the WNBA’s all-time leaderboard for assists. After dropping 19 dimes in her last three games, Bird currently has 2,471 career assists. She needs 129 more to pass Ticha Penicheiro for the No. 1 spot on the list.
Bird spoke after the loss against Atlanta about what opponents have been doing to deter the Storm from its winning ways.
“Our last three games, it’s teams putting their heads down and trying to ram it down our throats, time and time again,” said Bird. “We do respond. It’s just we can’t let it happen in the first place, and for some reason it actually affects our offense as well. It gets us really tentative on offense. If you show up and you don’t play your best, you won’t beat anybody. I don’t care what their record is.”
Losing at home to Atlanta brought the Storm’s winning percentage to .500 for the first time since it was 1-1. Atlanta also earned its first win in Seattle since 2012. Since the start of the 2016 season, the Storm has a 14-8 record in games immediately following a loss. The team has averaged 83.5 points in those 22 games.
AT A GLANCE: STARS
San Antonio is still searching for its first win of the season. Dating back to last season, the Stars have lost each of its 12 games.
Kayla McBride is the leading scorer for San Antonio, averaging 15.8 points per game, placing her 13th in the league in that category. Moriah Jefferson and her four assists per game make her San Antonio’s best distributor. Alex Montgomery nabs the most rebounds for the team at 6.3 per contest. Plum has struggled thus far after overcoming an early injury, scoring 3.6 points and adding 1.7 assists per game.
The Stars’ biggest shortcoming thus far in 2017 has been its offense. Through 10 games, San Antonio has managed just 73.7 points per game, the lowest average in the WNBA. The team also gives the ball away more than any other squad, as its current average of 16.9 turnovers a game is worst in the league.
On Thursday, San Antonio nearly overcame a 20-point halftime deficit to defeat Los Angeles but ultimately fell short, 80-75. Jefferson tallied a season-best 24 points in the losing effort, while Isabelle Harrison added a career-high 22 points and eight rebounds.
The Storm has a 36-29 all-time record against San Antonio, including an 85-76 win at AT&T Center earlier this month. Seattle also holds a commanding 22-11 advantage in games played on its home court, including a 15-3 mark since 2008.
In 2016, Seattle went 2-1 vs. San Antonio. The last time the Stars knocked off the Storm in Seattle was on September 13, 2015. In that game, the last of the season for both teams, Seattle’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored a career-high 19 points.
In the previous meeting between these teams this season, all five of Seattle’s starters scored in double figures, with Stewart’s 22 points leading the way. McBride finished with 21 points and six rebounds for San Antonio. A win for Seattle would bring its 2017 record against Western Conference opponents to an even 2-2.
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