Storm Tracker (May 17-23)

Jackson - 23.5
Lennox – 19.0
Bird – 13.0
Sam - 11.5
Burse - 7.5
Lennox - 7.5
Jackson - 6.0
Burse - 4.0
Sam – 3.5
Barnes/Vodichkova – 3.0
Bird - 4.5
Lennox - 3.5
Vodichkova - 2.5 PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty
Betty Lennox
19.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.5 spg, 53.8% fgs, 3-6 threes
Throughout training camp, Anne Donovan has insisted the Storm would be a different team because of the additions of Lennox and Sheri Sam to the starting five. Everyone found out just how different in the first two games. In the opener, Lennox became the fifth player in Storm history to record a double-double, scoring 18 points and pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds. She was even better against Los Angeles, cutting down on her turnovers and hitting eight of 10 shots to score 20 points and lead the Storm’s second-half domination of the Sparks. If Lennox can continue playing at this level, look out.

May 17-23
Record for the week: 2-0
Overall Record: 2-0
Standing: 1st, Western Conference

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Minnesota 36 49 85
at Storm 39 49 88
It may have been the season opener for the Minnesota Lynx and the Seattle Storm on Thursday, but the game was played at an intensity level more befitting a September showdown with a playoff spot on the line. Maybe that’s because an early-season loss to the Lynx at KeyArena last June kept the Storm out of the playoffs. Seattle wanted to avoid a repeat, and that proved to be quite difficult. The Storm led throughout the first half, but a late Minnesota run cut the halftime margin to three. The Lynx stormed out of the locker room with a 15-2 run early in the second half to take control of the game, but the Storm had the answer in MVP Lauren Jackson. Seattle trailed 70-66 with just under four minutes left when Jackson started to go off. Over a five-minute stretch, she scored 13 straight Storm points. Still, the Storm trailed 82-81 when Jackson completed a three-point play with 1:23 left to put the home team up to. The teams traded free throws, giving Minnesota the ball down two with 23.4 seconds left. Minnesota's Teresa Edwards, who scored a career-high 17 points, was stripped by Lennox. The Lynx still had life, answering two Storm free throws with a Katie Smith layup. Sue Bird left the door open when she split two free throws with 11 seconds left, giving Minnesota a chance to tie with a three, but rookie Tasha Butts' attempt was off and time ran out before the Lynx could get another shot as the Storm escaped with the 88-85 win. Jackson finished with 31 points, surpassing 30 for the fourth time in her career. Lynx rookie Nicole Ohlde had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the first double-double of her career, while Edwards and Smith had 17 apiece to lead Minnesota.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Los Angeles 36 31 67
at Storm 40 53 93
Every bit as tense as the opener was, Saturday's game against Los Angeles was not. Opening their season, the Sparks showed little energy as the Storm drilled them in the second half en route to a 93-67 victory that was the second-worst loss in Los Angeles history (the other, by 36 points, was also to the Storm last Aug. 6). The game was close throughout the first half, with the Storm using a late run to take a four-point lead to the locker room, but the Storm dominated the second half. The game was still reasonably close when the Storm used a 15-0 run to push the lead to 26 and end the game for all intents and purposes. It was all clicking for the Storm, who shot 53.4% from the field, 7-of-15 three-pointers and hit 24 free throws. Lennox led five Storm players in double-figures with 20 points, with Janell Burse coming off the bench to score 12. Lisa Leslie scored 20 for the Sparks, who shot 36.5% from the field and were outrebounded 31-23.

Weekly Happenings

Rookie Michelle Greco made her WNBA debut against Los Angeles, scoring six points.
Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty
Predicting the Storm
A sampling of a few preseason picks for where the Storm will finish this season in the West:

  • Jayda Evans, Seattle Times - Fourth
  • Steve Kelley, Seattle Times - Third
  • Percy Allen, Seattle Times - Third
  • Wendy Carpenter, Tacoma News-Tribune - Third
  • Rebecca Lobo, - Third
  • Ann Meyers, - Seventh
  • Nancy Lieberman, - Third
  • Oscar Dixon and Ellen J. Horrow, USA Today - Fourth

    Storm Dominates
    Saturday's victory over Los Angeles was the fourth time in Storm history the team eclipsed 90 points in a game and the seventh time beating an opponent by 25-plus points. All seven of those games have come in the last three seasons, all at home, meaning the Storm has averaged one win by 25 or more every five home games in the span. The complete lists:

    Margin Opponent Date Points Opponent Date
    41 Phoenix 7/19/02 93 Los Angeles 5/22/04
    40 San Antonio 6/22/03 93 San Antonio 6/22/03
    36 Los Angeles 8/6/03 92 Los Angeles 8/6/03
    29 Phoenix 7/25/03 90 at Phoenix 6/14/02
    27 Indiana 6/10/03
    26 Los Angeles 5/22/04
    26 Sacramento 6/23/02

    All Alone
    After the first week of the season, the Storm is the only undefeated team in the Western Conference at 2-0. It’s early, but only the Detroit Shock, having won its opener against San Antonio, is also unblemished thus far. Last year, the last unbeaten team was the Sparks themselves, who won their first nine games to tie a WNBA record. The Storm started 2-0 for the first time in franchise history.

    Injury Report

  • Forward Trina Frierson continues to rehabilitate her left knee after undergoing surgery last month. She was placed on the injured list last week.
  • Guard Michelle Greco aggravated a right hip contusion, which bothered her during training camp, at Monday's practice and is day-to-day.
  • Forward Alicia Thompson sprained her left ankle last Monday and has not practiced or played since. The Storm is targeting a return this Friday against Phoenix.

    Around the Web

  • The opening week of the season means preview time. The Seattle Times has a special section on its Web site, while Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist John Levesque focused on Jackson's need for a stronger supporting cast and Carpenter looked at Jackson's own development.
  • On the occasion of the Storm's opener, Times columnist Steve Kelley hearkens back to the franchise's first two years, not a fond memory.
  • The P-I's Mark Bergin focused on Saturday's marquee matchup - Jackson vs. Leslie.
  • Greg Johns of the King County Journal was looking for a winning Seattle sports team, and found it in the Storm.

    Fantasy League Update
    After one partial week, Elise Woodward's squad leads the Fantasy League thanks to an outstanding debut from Phoenix rookie Diana Taurasi, who piled up 44 efficiency points in her first two games. Evans is right behind, getting strong efforts from Ohlde, who she selected in the eighth round. Check out the Fantasy League homepage for complete standings.

    The Week Ahead

    Fri, May 28 Phoenix Mercury 7:00 p.m. America West Arena 950 KJR AM

    Storm Tracker Archive