Gm 1: at Hou., Tues., 8/30, 9:30 p.m. ET. ESPN2
Gm 2: at Sea., Thur., 9/1, 10 p.m. ET. NBA TV
Gm 3*: at Sea., Sat., 9/3, 10 p.m. ET. NBA TV
The defending champion Seattle Storm are back for more this postseason, and while they may not have been as dominant during the regular season as Coach Anne Donovan may have hoped, they still finished with the same record, 20-14, as they did last season. Consider that the Storm lost two starters and more key reserves from last year's team, that Sue Bird broke her nose again early on and missed time and that Betty Lennox sprained her wrist and missed nearly three weeks of action. Also consider that the Storm went just 6-11 on the road. So how can they be considered contenders? Forward Lauren Jackson had another MVP-caliber season, both Bird and Lennox are back in the lineup and producing and center Janell Burse and forward Iziane Castro Marques have filled in ably for those departed. But the Houston Comets have been right there with the Storm all season long, going back and forth in the standings. After missing the playoffs last season, Sheryl Swoopes returned to her MVP form and led the league in scoring. Center Michelle Snow was an All-Star for the first time and the frontcourt was solidified with the return of Tina Thompson from maternity leave midway through the season. Add in Olympian Dawn Staley, who was acquired just before the trading deadline, and the Comets have four 2004 Olympians in their starting lineup.

2005 Regular Season: Seattle Storm 2 - Houston Comets 2
Some fast facts about the Storm-Comets first-round matchup:


Who is your MVP? Jackson averaged 17.8 ppg (second in the WNBA) and 9.3 rpg (second), Swoopes finished with 18.6 ppg (first), 2.0 spg (second) and 37.1 mpg (first).
After taking the 2004 season off to train with her national team in Brazil, guard Janeth Arcain returned to Houston to help lead the Comets back to the playoffs. She finished with more than 10 ppg and started in all 34 of the Comets games. Except for last season, Arcain has started in every game of the Comets since 1999.
Sue Bird led the league in assists this season with 5.9 assists per game, the first time she has done so in her career. She had finished in second in each of her first three seasons.
In ten games with the Comets after being traded from the Sting, point guard Dawn Staley averaged 3.0 ppg and 2.6 apg. Both were well below her season and career averages.

Tina Thompson started in all 15 games after her return, and while she averaged slightly less than 10 points per game, well below last season's 20.0 ppg, she did score 17 points twice, 18 points twice and 20 points once in her brief season.


Friday, May 27: Seattle 79, Houston 59 | Box score

Seattle Leaders: Lauren Jackson (17 pts., 12 reb.), Betty Lennox (24 pts., 3 ast.)
Houston Leaders: Sheryl Swoopes (16 pts., 4 ast.), Michelle Snow (17 pts., 6 reb.)

Tuesday, June 28: Houston 71, Seattle 67 | Box score
Seattle Leaders: Sue Bird (13 pts., 7 ast.), Suzy Batkovic (16 pts., 5 reb.)
Houston Leaders: Sheryl Swoopes (21 pts., 9 ast.), Michelle Snow (11 pts., 11 reb.)
NBA TV highlights: Play

Tuesday, August 9: Seattle 71, Houston 68 | Box score
Seattle Leaders: Lauren Jackson (27 pts., 9 reb.), Sue Bird (10 pts., 3 ast.)
Houston Leaders: Sheryl Swoopes (34 pts., 6 reb.), Michelle Snow (13 pts., 8 reb.)
NBA TV: Play

Sunday, August 14: Houston 75, Seattle 72 | Box score
Seattle Leaders: Lauren Jackson (18 pts., 9 reb.), Janell Burse (15 pts., 11 reb.)
Houston Leaders: Sheryl Swoopes (23 pts., 5 reb.), Michelle Snow (20 pts., 6 reb.)