Storm Tracker (Jun. 9-15)

Jackson - 19.0
Bird - 11.5
Vodichkova – 11.0
Brondello – 10.0
Barnes - 5.0
Vodichkova - 6.0
Edwards – 5.5
Jackson - 5.5
Barnes - 4.0
Burras - 3.0
Bird - 6.0
Jackson - 3.0
Lassiter - 3.0

June 9-15
Record for the week: 1-1
Overall Record: 3-4
Standing: 4th, Western Conference

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Indiana 18 33 51
at Storm 33 45 78
Playing the first game against an Eastern Conference opponent of the season, the Storm provided a reminder why the East is considered the weaker of the two conferences. The Storm got off to a running start and never gave the Fever a chance, blowing them out 78-51. The Storm did it with defense, holding Indiana to just 18 points in the first half, a Fever record low. In one stretch of the first half, the Fever committed five consecutive turnovers, and Indiana was called for a pair of shot-clock violations as well. It didn’t help the Fever when star Tamika Catchings went down in a heap late in the half with a sprained left ankle, though she returned after halftime. By that point, the game was basically over. In the second half, the Storm poured on the offense to win going away. Lauren Jackson scored 20 points for the third straight game, making nine of her 12 attempts. Sandy Brondello (11) and Kamila Vodichkova (10) were also in double figures as every Storm player other than Tully Bevilaqua scored. Catchings was held to 13 points, well below her season average. The Fever shot just 35.3% from the field, well below the Storm’s 49.2%.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Minnesota 48 29 77
at Storm 35 37 72
The Storm closed its homestand against the Minnesota Lynx, coming off a three-game losing streak. The Lynx certainly didn’t play like a team that had lost three in a row during the first half. Led by the play of shooting guard Katie Smith, the WNBA’s leading scorer during the 2001 season, Minnesota tied a Storm opponent record for most points in a half with 48. Smith herself had 19 points on 5-for-5 shooting from three-point range. After halftime, the Storm came out strong and quickly cut into the lead, whittling it as close as two on multiple occasions. That was the difference, 72-70, when Jackson drove the lane, looking for a tie. Her shot was off, and the Lynx got the ball back. Smith split two free throws, leaving the door open for Seattle, but the Lynx corralled the rebound and yet another one after the Storm forced a Minnesota miss from the perimeter. With time running out, the Storm was forced to foul Smith, who made both free throws to provide an insurmountable five-point advantage. That ended up the final margin as Minnesota won 77-72. Smith finished with 32 points, tying the Storm opponent record. She made seven three-pointers, tying the WNBA’s record and setting them for both the Lynx and Storm opponents. Jackson led the Storm with 18 points, but made just 8-of-19 attempts. Sue Bird had her first double-digit scoring effort since leaving the Storm’s game with Los Angeles because of a knee injury, finishing with 16 points and making six of her 10 shots.

Player of the Week

C Kamila Vodichkova
11.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 0.5 topg 9-18 fgs

The adjustment period is officially over for Vodichkova, who has returned to the high level she played at last season as the Storm’s third star. With Brondello in the lineup and Adia Barnes shooting better from the perimeter, Vodichkova isn’t getting quite as many looks this season, but she’s making use of those she has gotten. The best word to describe her over the last four games might be consistent, but that might understate her consistency. Of the four games, she’s twice posted lines of 12 points and seven rebounds, twice 10 points and five rebounds. In that stretch, she’s shot 18-for-34, made all eight of her free-throw attempts, and committed two turnovers. At the defensive end of the court, Vodichkova keeps shutting down heralded opponents. On Tuesday, she had to battle Indiana’s physical former All-Star Natalie Williams, and held her to just one point. Vodichkova still doesn’t get much attention nationally – she ranked 11th amongst forwards in the most recent All-Star voting results – but Storm fans know there are few better complementary players.

Weekly Happenings

Bird snapped her scoring slump with 16 points against Minnesota.
Jeff Reinking/WNBAE/Getty
The biggest problem to plague the Storm last week was opponents’ three-point shooting. In addition to Smith’s record-tying seven three-pointers, the Storm gave up a team-opponent-record 11 three-pointers to the Fever. Between the two games, the Storm allowed opponents to make 20 of 35 three-point attempts, a sizzling 57.1% clip. The strange thing is that previously, the Storm had been downright stingy with threes, holding opponents to 16-for-62 shooting (26.1%). The change might have had something to do with playing against Smith and the Fever, who is shooting nearly 42% as a team from downtown, but the teams also got too many open looks. Storm Coach Anne Donovan was concerned about that fact at practice last week before the Minnesota game. "We gave them much too much time to get those off," Donovan said, referring to the Fever and citing defending the three as her biggest concern at the time.

Going in Reserve
Donovan has found a first unit that is clicking on the court and neatly complements each other’s strengths and weaknesses, meaning the challenge now is to find an equally cohesive bench group. Guard Rita Williams got increased playing time last week in favor of Bevilaqua, while Amanda Lassiter emerged as the backup to Barnes at small forward. “I think we’re starting to get our rotations down,” Donovan said. “I like Rita coming in at the two spot. Our post rotation will be determined by who we’re playing against.” Lassiter’s performance in 39 minutes, as she averaged six points, three assists and two blocks, was a particularly pleasant surprise. “She played well against Indiana but we’ve been struggling for the backup for Adia for most of the season,” Donovan said after Saturday’s game. “I think the more she plays, the more confidence she gets.”

The Week Ahead

Tue, June 17 Phoenix Mercury 12:00 p.m. America West Arena 950 KJR AM
Thu, June 19 Los Angeles Sparks 7:00 p.m. STAPLES Center 950 KJR AM/ESPN2
Sat, June 21 Sacramento Monarchs 7:00 p.m. ARCO Arena 950 KJR AM
Sun, June 22 San Antonio Silver Stars 6:00 p.m. KeyArena (tickets) 950 KJR AM

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