By Seth Dahle
It’s official – we’ve hit the midpoint of the 2018 regular season. Although there is still plenty of basketball left to play, it’s been quite the season for the Seattle Storm.
Under first-year head coach Dan Hughes, the Storm currently sits tied for second in the WNBA standings with a 12-5 record, and the team will tip-off the second half of the regular season tomorrow at New York.
Seattle needs just six more wins to clinch its first winning season since 2011; however, Hughes has made it clear that the franchise has its eyes set much higher, especially in regards to postseason play.
Here’s a look at the most eye-grabbing ‘By the Numbers’ statistics so far from the 2018 campaign:
12-5 – Second-Best Start in Franchise History
The 2018 campaign marks Seattle’s second-best start in franchise history. The Storm notched that feat with an 81-72 triumph over the No. 1 Los Angeles Sparks on June 28, as the team improved to 11-5 on the season before collecting another ‘W’ on July 1 vs. Connecticut. Seattle started 10-5 in 2004 before falling to 10-6 with a 70-67 loss at Charlotte on July 8. The franchise went 15-2 through 17 games during the 2010 season.
21.9 – Stewart Leading the League in Scoring
Unstoppable. Relentless. Unguardable. Resilient. Those are just a few words to describe Breanna Stewart’s game this season. The third-year, 6-4 forward has been dominant on the offensive end, averaging 21.9 points per game to rank first in the WNBA. She’s posted 25 or more points eight times this season, including a season-high 30 vs. Chicago on June 12. Stewie has also done her damage on a blistering 53.7 percent clip from the field, making her a strong candidate for Most Valuable Player.
4-1 – Best Road Start in Franchise History
Call them road warriors. The Storm notched its best road start (4-1) in franchise history after blasting the Dallas Wings in Texas by a 97-76 margin. Seattle outscored the Wings, 29-12, in the fourth quarter, as Stewart (28 points, 12 rebounds) and Sue Bird (10 points, 10 assists) both earned double-doubles to lead the Storm to victory. Seattle’s previous best start on the road came in 2010 when the team started 3-1 before falling to 3-2 with a 72-65 setback at Indiana.
17 – Most Three-Pointers in a Single Game
The Storm certainly made it rain on May 31 against the Aces – cliché, but definitely not an understatement. Seattle set a WNBA record with 17 three-pointers in the 101-74 win, as seven different players connected from beyond the arc. Jewell Loyd anchored the team’s effort from deep with five treys.
5 – Most Consecutive Games Won Since 2012
For the third-straight season, Seattle dropped its season opener, leaving many to wonder just how the team would respond. How do five wins in a row for the first time in six years sound? Not bad! The Storm just did just, accomplishing the feat between May 23-31 with wins over Phoenix, Chicago, Las Vegas (twice) and Washington.
21.1 – Storm Leads WNBA in Assists Per Game
Should Seattle continue to share the basketball like it has been, the team will best last season’s franchise record (686) for dimes in a single season. The Storm currently leads the WNBA with 21.1 assists per game, led by Bird’s 7.1 assist-per-game average. In 2017, Seattle posted 20.2 per outing.
5,971 – Bird Eyes Lauren Jackson on WNBA’s All-Time Scoring List
Let the countdown begin. Bird, the legendary floor general, is just 37 points from passing former Storm great Lauren Jackson on the WNBA’s all-time scoring list. This season, she has already passed both DeLisha Milton-Jones and Becky Hammon to climb to eighth on the list, and she needs just 29 points to become the eighth player in league history to eclipse the 6,000-point mark.
15,734 – Bird Moves to Second in WNBA History in Minutes Played
Keep on climbing, Birdy! On July 1 against Connecticut, Bird saw 23 minutes of action to climb to 15,734 for her career, passing Katie Smith (15,725) and moving to second all-time in WNBA history. She needs to see 356 more minutes on the hardwood to pass Tina Thompson, who holds the WNBA’s all-time record with 16,089 minutes. Bird also needs to play in just eight more contests to pass DeLisha Milton-Jones (499) and become No. 1 in all-time games played in the WNBA. This, of course, is contingent on Bird not missing a game during that stretch.
1.8 – Howard Ranks Third in Blocks Per Game
She’s simply changed the way the Storm operates both offensively and defensively – this being newcomer Natasha Howard, who in her fifth WNBA season is posting career-highs of 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 58.5 percent from the floor. Howard currently ranks third in the WNBA in blocks per game with 1.8, having collected three or more five times this season. Her shooting percentage also ranks fourth in the league.
7.1 – Bird Sits Second in Assists Per Game
She’s a common topic these days – Bird currently ranks second in the WNBA in assists per game at 7.1 per outing. Not only is that statistic a career-high effort, but Bird is also doing it with untouchable efficiency (4.18 assist-to-turnover ratio). Bird has eclipsed nine or more assists six times this season, including a season-high 11 vs. Los Angeles on June 28.
87.2 – Storm the Second-Highest Scoring Team in WNBA
It’s no secret that Seattle is one of the most potent offensive teams in the league. The Storm ranks just behind the Connecticut Sun in points per game with 87.2, and the team also boasts the top assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.54. Seattle ranks in the top five in nearly every offensive category, including offensive rating (108.2, first), field goal percentage (46.8, second), three’s made per game (8.3, first), free throw percentage (82.8, third) and assists per game (21.1, first).
6 – Seattle’s Home Winning Streak vs. Los Angeles
They may be a favorite for a deep push in the WNBA playoffs, but that doesn’t mean the Los Angeles Sparks have tasted the sweet prize of victory at KeyArena in quite some time. With an 81-72 triumph over the Sparks on June 28, the Storm collected its sixth-consecutive win over its Western Conference rival in the Emerald City, a streak dating back to the 2015 season. For the first time in franchise history, Seattle never trailed in two consecutive meetings with Los Angeles, as the Storm steamrolled to an 88-63 victory over the Sparks back on June 7 in LA.