Storm Defeats Sky
by Jourdan Rodrigue @JourdanRodrigue
On Friday night the Storm upset the Western Conference leader, the Minnesota Lynx. Tonight, they knocked off the Eastern Conference leader with an 80-76 win in Chicago over the Sky.
It seemed that Seattle was a bit jarred from the unexpected absence of star Sky players Elena Delle Donne and Jessica Breland on Tuesday night, because the first seven minutes of the game were spent by the Storm tentatively feeling out the adjusted Chicago game plan.
The only offensive fluidity during that time came from a gorgeous arcing jumper just inside the perimeter from Crystal Langhorne and an explosive breakaway layup complete with slippery ball fake from Tanisha Wright.
Then Shekinna Stricklen came off the bench and immediately sank a three, and the Storm took the lead and hardly looked back.
Chicago mustered some momentum as the first quarter dwindled down with a 6-0 run, but the Storm still started the second quarter in the lead, 18-14. Crystal Langhorne had eight points and five rebounds after only a minute into the second.
The Storm then went on an 11-4 run thanks in part to a fighting post-spin layup and extra point from Camille Little. And Jenna O’Hea came back to the court after a short hiatus due to a broken toe and knocked down two three-pointers in the second quarter, followed by another from Sue Bird, and the Storm led by 15 points with about four and a half minutes left in the half.
And by the end of the half, Seattle had scored the most points in a first half this season with 42 to Chicago’s 30. Little led all scorers at the half with 10.
The Storm opened the second half with a 9-2 run and by the time Seattle was halfway through the quarter they were averaging almost 50% from the field. Stricklen contributed another bucket from downtown with about four minutes left in the third.
But the Storm was outscored 24-22 in the third to bring Chicago within eight as the fourth quarter began. Seattle regained control of the game under Wright’s leadership and 11 points with about seven minutes left in the game.
Markeisha Gatling and Epiphany Prince led the Sky as Chicago made its first three-pointer of the night with about four and a half minutes left in the game, but Seattle’s Nicole Powell answered with one of her own to keep the Storm ahead by 10. And when a driving layup from Chicago’s Tamera Young brought the Sky within four, Noelle Quinn responded with a three-pointer to slightly ease the Storm’s concern.
And after a long foul-filled final thirty seconds, Wright’s 17 points (assisted by eight free throws) helped the Storm finish strong and start its road series with a win, 80-76.
“It feels good to have a win on the road. We didn’t get off to the greatest start this year but we’ve hung in there and we’ve steadily improved," said Head Coach Brian Agler.
Wright led Seattle with 17 points, followed by Little with 13 and Bird with 10. Langhorne had 10 rebounds and was two points shy of a double-double.
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