Stormin’ Back

If the Seattle Storm can find a way to start every game after halftime, they may go undefeated this season.

In each of their first two games, the Storm has trailed at the half, but played inspired basketball in the second half and rallied to win.

If you combine the first two games of the season, the Storm has been outscored 69-53 in the first half, while they have dominated the second half to an 88-54 advantage.

In the season opener against the Chicago Sky, Seattle trailed by six points at the half, and as many as nine points early in the third quarter, before things began to click. Over the next 13 minutes, the Storm showed the potential of this All-Star lineup, as they outscored the Sky 36-12 to put the game out of reach midway through the fourth quarter.

It was déjà vu at KeyArena Tuesday night, this time with the Storm facing the Sacramento Monarchs. Seattle shot just 29 percent in the first half and after trailing by as many as 13 points, went to the locker room at the half down by 10.

The Storm chipped away at the Monarchs lead in the third quarter, using a 9-0 run to pull within three before the Monarchs responded with a five-point run of their own. Heading into the final period the Storm trailed by six and then flipped the switch.

Similar to the dominant run they had against the Sky, the Storm opened the fourth quarter with a 19-4 run. Once again the defense sparked the offense with second-year wing Katie Gearlds taking the starring role with a trio of 3-pointers.

The fourth quarter saw the Storm offense at its best with shots coming from every player (Yolanda Griffith, Sheryl Swoopes, Swin Cash, Sue Bird, Lauren Jackson, Kimberly Beck and Gearlds all scored in the period) and from all over the floor (long range, transition, put-backs off of the offensive glass and free throws).

The Storm also played unselfishly as they racked up eight assists on nine made baskets in the quarter. Half of Seattle’s 16 assists for the game came in the fourth quarter. After scoring 39 points through the first three quarters, Seattle put up 35 in the fourth quarter alone.

While Storm coach Brian Agler was pleased with his team’s efforts in the second half, he admits he is concerned about the slow starts the Storm have had in their first two games.

“We have to find ways to get our energy level up earlier, get that alarm to go off earlier, rather than waiting until we get down by eight, 10, 12 points,” he said.

The big-picture question here is how good can this team be if they can put together a complete game? They have shown flashes of brilliance in the first two games, but can they sustain it for 40 minutes? While Agler would love to see that now, he knows the team is still learning to play together. It’s going to take time to develop into the team he envisions.

“You always want your team to steadily improve and I think we are improving,” he said. “You always want things to happen right away. But it's probably not going to be right away, it's probably going to be a process through the season. But we'll watch the film, see how we can get better and start getting ready for Phoenix (Thursday night).”

Will this year be The Perfect Storm in Seattle?
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