Storm Tracker (Jun. 14-20)

Jackson - 20.3
Lennox - 13.0
Sam - 10.3
Vodichkova - 9.0
Bird - 7.7
Jackson - 7.7
Lennox - 6.7
Burse - 4.7
Sam - 4.0
Vodichkova - 3.7
Bird - 6.7
Lennox - 3.3
Jackson - 1.7 PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty
Lauren Jackson
20.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.7 bpg, 8-16 threes, 9-12 free throws
As great as Jackson always is, she had not had a truly monster game in some time entering this road trip. In a span of three games, she got at least one and arguably two. There is little doubt that Jackson dominated against San Antonio, scoring 27 points on sizzling 10-for-15 shooting, her most since 31 on opening night against Minnesota. "It's so easy to score against shorter players," she said afterwards. Jackson wasn't as offensively efficient in New York; in fact, she missed 13 of her 19 shots. But many of those misses turned into her seven offensive rebounds, and Jackson had a double-double in the first half against the Liberty. She finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes, retiring to the bench early as the Storm built an insurmountable lead. For the week, Jackson averaged better than 20 points per game and was red-hot from downtown, canning half of her 16 three-point attempts.

Jun. 14-20
Record for the week: 3-0
Overall Record: 8-2
Standing: 1st, Western Conference

Tuesday, Jun. 15, 2004

Storm 37 49 86
at New York 32 30 62
The Storm started its three-game road trip Tuesday in New York in what was billed as a matchup of the WNBA's two best teams, each tops in their respective conference. The Storm struggled in the early going, allowing the Liberty to burst out to leads of 9-2 and 13-5. By the 13-minute mark, however, the Storm had used an 8-0 run to tie the game at 13. New York went back ahead, but the Storm closed the half on a 17-6 run to take command of the game. That command would not be relinquished in the second half. A 16-2 run just out of the locker room allowed Seattle to extend its lead over 20 points. Even after Storm Coach Anne Donovan went heavily to her bench, the Storm continued dominating, scoring 49 points in the second half to run the Liberty off its own court, winning by an 86-62 final. Jackson had the 16-point, 12-rebound double-double to lead a balanced Storm scoring attack. Sheri Sam added 15 points and Janell Burse 12 points and nine rebounds off the bench. Ann Wauters had 15 in reserve for New York. The Storm held the Liberty to 36.5% shooting and dominated the glass, outrebounding New York 44-26.

Friday, Jun. 18, 2004

Storm 27 42 69
at Houston 23 40 63
After two days off, the Storm resumed its road trip in Houston against a Comets team playing without the WNBA's leading scorer, Tina Thompson, sidelined by a left calf strain. An ugly first half was dominated by the Storm for the first 17-plus minutes. When Adia Barnes hit a three-pointer (her second in as many games) with 2:28 left, the Storm held a 12-point lead. Houston would score the half's last eight points, however, to pull within four. The first half saw both sides whistled for an incredible 19 fouls, just one of them on a shot attempt. With the referees playing a smaller role in the second half, both teams found an offensive groove, but neither could take control of the game. The Storm led 60-53 with three minutes left, but the Comets got two straight scores before Sam nailed a backbreaking three with 20 left on the shot clock to push the lead to six with 45 seconds left. Houston kept coming, holding possession down five, but Sue Bird came up with a key rebound after Kedra Holland-Corn missed from the perimeter and the Storm held on for a 69-63 win. Jackson led four Storm starters in double-figures with 18 points, and she controlled the paint defensively. For Houston, two-time MVP Sheryl Swoopes had a monster game in Thompson's absence, scoring 33 points to tie her career high and set a new Storm opponent record. Sheila Lambert, with 13, was the only other Comets player in double-figures.

Saturday, Jun. 19, 2004

Storm 35 39 74
at San Antonio 22 39 61
A night later, the Storm traveled to San Antonio looking for a sweep of the road trip and the longest winning streak in franchise history. The teams entered the game going in different directions, with the Storm having won five straight and the Silver Stars lost seven in a row. They exited the game in those same directions, with the Storm extending its win streak to six with a 74-61 victory that was never seriously in doubt. San Antonio center Margo Dydek, replacing a sidelined Jessie Hicks in the starting lineup, played some inspired basketball in the early going and the game was tied at 10 after five minutes, but the Storm scored the game's next nine points and never looked back. San Antonio never got the lead under eight points in the second half as the Storm cruised. Jackson led the way with a monster 27 points, while Betty Lennox scored 16 points and pulled down nine boards and Bird handed out a season-high nine assists. San Antonio got 16 points from LaToya Thomas, but was demolished on the boards, coming up with just 20 rebounds to the Storm's 31.

Weekly Happenings

Jackson dominated the paint against San Antonio.
D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty
Hey, This Team's Pretty Good
With an 8-2 record, the Storm is atop the WNBA by a full game and a half over the 6-3 Detroit Shock. The Storm topped's Power Rankings last week and will almost certainly hold that same spot this week as well. The Storm leads the WNBA in Offensive Efficiency and has also moved into the league's top three in Defensive Efficiency. The Storm's point differential (+9.5) is the best in the league by miles. Summary: The Storm is pretty good.

In addition to setting a franchise record for consecutive wins (previously five from Jul. 25-Aug. 1, 2002), the Storm also tied the record for consecutive road wins, four (precisely the same stretch). Not only were the Storm's three wins a record for a road trip, this was also the first time in franchise history the Storm has swept a multi-game trip.

Fast Starters
The Storm's 8-2 record through 10 games is far and away the best record through that span in franchise history. The Storm's other starts:

Year Record
2000 2-8
2001 5-5
2002 4-6
2003 5-5
2004 8-2

Home Away From Home
This Saturday, the Storm will play its first ever regular-season game away from KeyArena, traveling to Spokane to take on the New York Liberty at Spokane Arena as a part of the weekend's Hoopfest festivities. Tickets are still available.

Hitting 1,000
With her first basket against the Silver Stars, Storm center Kamila Vodichkova became the 68th player in WNBA history to score 1,000 points in her career. Vodichkova is the second player to reach the mark with the Storm after Jackson did so last season, and a third is almost certainly on the way, as Bird finished Saturday's game with 997 points. She'll likely join the Storm's other four starters, who all have scored 1,000 career points or more, Tuesday against Houston at KeyArena.

Bad News/Good News
With four road wins this season, the Storm is one away from last year's total of five.

Injury Report

  • Forward Trina Frierson continues to rehabilitate her left knee after undergoing surgery during training camp. She is on the injured list, but has participated in some drills recently.

    Around the Web

  • As good as the Storm has been on offense, Donovan has been more pleased with the tough defense Seattle has played lately, reports the Seattle Times' Jayda Evans.
  • The Storm is the only WNBA team averaging more than nine steals per game, so Mark Bergin of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer took a look at the team's newfound thievery.
  • Wendy Carpenter of The News Tribune notes that the Storm keeps on crossing off undone tasks in a "season of firsts".
  • Donovan wanted to make her team tougher this season and has succeeded in that goal, a big reason for the Storm's success, writes Ned Griffen of The Day of New London, CT.

    Fantasy League Update
    Led by Sparks center Lisa Leslie, Karen Bryant continues charging hard at the leaders in the Fantasy League. Now, Bryant is one of three players with 1,000 points or more. Also moving up has been Mike Bellerive. Here's a look at the standings for the last two-week period:

    Team   Pts
    Karen  511
    Mike   437
    Kevin  427
    Mark   418
    Locke  337
    Scott  321
    Jayda  265
    Elise  227

    Kevin Pelton still leads by 72 points over Mark Bergin, but things could change with my roster moves in store. Check out the Fantasy League homepage daily for complete updated standings.

    The Week Ahead

    Tue, Jun 22 Houston Comets 7:00 p.m. KeyArena (tickets) 950 KJR AM, Fox Sports Northwest and NBA TV
    Sat, Jun 26 New York Liberty 7:00 p.m. Spokane Arena (tickets) 950 KJR AM

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