After taking care of business at home in Game 1, the Connecticut Sun got
out to an early lead in this series. However, both teams struggled in stretches
and will be forced to make adjustments. For Seattle, Games 2 and 3 at home,
in front of a raucous, supportive crowd, should help, but they must do more.
As everyone gets on a plane to fly across the country, here is what four of
the games top analysts had to say about Game 2 adjustments on both sides:
Nancy Lieberman, WNBA.com and ESPN Analyst:
"I think for Seattle, they have to get more production out of their starting
five players. I really thought that they made some in-game adjustments in Game
1 by putting Lauren Jackson on Taj McWilliams-Franklin in the beginning, because
Kamila Vodichkova was unable to guard her effectively. Seattle also has to cut
down their turnovers. There were also periods where Seattle lost its composure.
I also don't think that Lauren played poorly, I just think that the shots didn't
fall for her in Game 1.
If I were Connecticut, I would not divert from the game plan. They pressured
Sue Bird 94 feet with Katie Douglas and Jessica Brungo. You could see how she
would be tired at the end of the game just having to deal with that, even if
it is token pressure. I really thought that Connecticut lost their composure
at the end of the game as well. They really did not have good clock management
down the stretch, either. They were up at 13 points at the 7-minute mark. They
have to tighten up.
These next two games, this is what the home court is all about. When you are
in a situation where your back is against the wall, and you have to win, you
have to do it on your home court."
Ann Meyers, WNBA.com and ESPN Analyst:
"I really think the Seattle Storm are going to have to find fresh legs.
The energy level and intensity were not there in Game 1. From the very beginning,
when Kamila Vodichkova missed an easy shot, and in the beginning of the second
half when Jackson got bumped and missed that layup, that set the tone. The Storm
were missing shots that they hit against Sacramento even when they were open.
They need to adjust in a few ways. Jackson needs to be able to pass out of that
double and triple team. That means her teammates have to cut or set up in spots
where they can find each other.
Connecticut dictated the game defensively. Lindsay Whalen came up huge for
them tonight on both ends of the floor and Sue Bird has to keep things under
control. She cannot let the officials frustrate her.
The Sun have to come out fierce in Game 2 and take the crowd out of the game.
The same thing happened with Seattle in the Sacramento series - the crowd played
a huge role in energizing that team and propelling them to victory. Connecticut
has to sustain their intensity and continue to play as hard as they have. They
just had a great game plan and need another one to put the Storm away."
Doris Burke, ESPN Analyst and Emmy Winner:
"Seattle became very frustrated by the way Connecticut played them early
on. They will need to adjust to that in the next game. Bird and Jackson are
great players, but they do not like to be played physically. You could see that
they got worn out from the opening tip. They got frustrated and stopped thinking
about the game at some point and only focused on how they were being played.
So the adjustment is a mental one. I also think they need to involve Lauren
a little bit earlier. They have to do a better job on the switches. The Sun
were switching on all pick-and-rolls, and I don't think they were able to read
and react quickly enough.
Going for the kill on the road is tough, but here is what Sun coach Mike Thibault
told me. When they beat Charlotte in an early round series in 2003, they won
their home game, and then jumped all over the Sting in the first ten minutes
of the game. The other team can feel that kind of pressure. I said Connecticut
would win this series in three games. But now, I think their best shot is to
win it in two games by putting all kinds of pressure on the Storm. If they can
do that, this series is over."
Geno Auriemma, Connecticut Women's Head Coach:
"I think Seattle looked tired in Game 1. Maybe it was the travel situation,
that they had to fly out early the other day, so it will be interesting to see
how they recover. But this time of year, everyone is tired. I thought that Connecticut
was able to get the ball inside way too easily and that really hurt Seattle.
The referees allowed the game to become a physical one, and that works to Connecticut's
favor as well.
Seattle did not get a lot of movement on their offense. Onse shot and they
were done. It looked like Seattle became a lot more aggressive in the second
half, but Connecticut helped them. I think Lauren Jackson has to touch the ball
more, she has to get more shots and get more involved in their offense. It could
take four or five passes to get the shot that they want instead of one or two."