Live from Press Row - Storm vs. San Antonio
Storm Defeats Stars Again
Final: Storm 78, San Antonio 55
Tonight may not have been as one-sided as when these two teams played three weeks ago in San Antonio, but the Storm once again earned a 20-point victory over the rival Silver Stars. The Storm did an incredible job on the glass, doubling up San Antonio in rebounds 46-23. The Storm held the Silver Stars to 37.3 percent shooting and forced 16 turnovers. No San Antonio player had more than 12 points.
The Storm, meanwhile, was led by Swin Cash's 22 points. Cash had 15 points in the second half and also grabbed nine rebounds, six of them offensive. Lauren Jackson pulled down a season-high 14 rebounds and scored 19 points for her fifth double-double of the season. Camille Little was a force in her own right with 17 points and nine rebounds. The Storm bench chipped in 20 points, outscoring the opponent for the first time all season. That helped make up for the fact that Sue Bird shot an uncharacteristic 0-for-7 from the field before leaving with a sprained left knee.
The Storm stays hot, moving to 11-2 on the season, including 7-0 at KeyArena and 8-0 against Western Conference foes. Seattle did well to win two games in this difficult stretch of three in four nights. Now, the team will have the week off before hosting the Indiana Fever next Friday in a chance to avenge one of the season's two losses. Also, arrive early and make sure you're one of the first 4,000 fans to get your Sue Bird bobblehead. Get your tickets now!
Bird on the Bench
Fourth Quarter: Storm 78, San Antonio 55
Well, Sue Bird has not returned to play in this game, though with the Storm leading by 23 points she wasn't really needed tonight either. She did come back to the bench midway through this quarter, drawing a loud ovation from Storm fans who hate to see any kind of injury trouble for the All-Star point guard. One upside of Bird being out for the stretch run, along with the large lead, is it means some playing time for Alison Lacey. She hasn't seen extended action since the Storm last faced the Silver Stars on May 30.
Speaking of great passers, Matt Hasselbeck threw a touchdown pass to Doppler with some help from Seahawks teammate Colin Cole. Now, the two players are sending T-shirts into the KeyArena crowd
Fourth Quarter: Storm 70, San Antonio 53
With 5:21 left to play, the Storm's lead (17 points) isn't quite large enough to be completely safe. At the same time, it's in no imminent danger either. So we're in that awkward position where the Storm's biggest ally is the clock. The Silver Stars are trying furiously to come back, while the Storm simply wants to keep things where they are and move to 11-2 on the season.
Storm Dominating Paint
End Third Quarter: Storm 62, San Antonio 46
While the Storm has shot the ball better, nothing has changed in terms of the team's dominance down low. The Storm has an amazing 36-14 rebounding advantage. Lauren Jackson leads the way with 11 rebounds, adding 19 points for yet another double-double. Swin Cash and Camille Little are close to joining her. Cash has 14 points and nine rebounds, while Little has 13 points (eight of them in the third quarter) and eight boards.
Storm Opens Up the Lead; Bird to Locker Room
Third Quarter: Storm 55, San Antonio 39
The Storm is now on a 15-2 run to extend its lead to 16 points with 4:38 left to play in the third quarter. Sandy Brondello took another timeout; the Silver Stars have just two left. The Storm has been able to get out on the break to get easy buckets here in this quarter, already putting 18 points on the board, as many as the team averaged in the first two quarters.
The bad news is Storm guard Sue Bird went to the locker room at the 5:51 mark of the quarter after going down awkwardly. We did just get good news that Bird has a strained left knee and may return to the game. With the Storm in control, Bird may be able to take the rest of the night off, but fortunately this doesn't appear to be anything serious.
Third Quarter: Storm 47, San Antonio 37
A couple of Father's Day-themed dancing bits of entertainment. During halftime, there was a dance-off involving dads and their daughters. Now, during this first timeout of the third quarter, fathers of Dance Troupe members have joined their kids on the hardwood to show where the youngsters got their moves.
On the court, San Antonio scored the first five points of the second half to get within two. The Storm has answered with a 10-2 surge. After Swin Cash's long jumper was ruled a three-pointer by a video replay during the timeout, the Storm now holds its first double-digit lead of the game.
Storm Leads Without Strong Offense
Halftime: Storm 37, San Antonio 30
If I told you the Storm would only shoot 35.9 percent in the first half and would turn the ball over 10 times, you'd probably be happy to just be in the game. Instead, the Storm actually leads by seven at the break, 37-30, despite those stats.
There was a lot of talk before the game about Storm fatigue, and I think we're seeing it in terms of shooting. The Storm is 2-of-11 from beyond the arc, and Sue Bird has missed all seven of her shot attempts. The Storm's energy level, however, has been fantastic. Give Swin Cash a lot of credit. She's working hard every possession on the offensive glass and has four of the Storm's 11 offensive boards. At the defensive end, the Storm is contesting well and keeping San Antonio out of the paint. The Silver Stars are shooting just 37.9 percent themselves and have 11 first-half turnovers.
Lauren Jackson continues to be brilliant. At the half, she's got 15 points and eight rebounds and is well on her way to another double-double.
Big Names Turn Out for Dads & Daughters Night
Second Quarter: Storm 35, San Antonio 26
This is the first time I can remember the Storm celebrating Dads & Daughters Night actually on Father's Day, and we've got some famous dads in the house. Gary Jackson, the father of Lauren, is sitting at courtside with her mother Maree. Next to them are Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck with his two daughters and the rest of his family. Also here tonight is Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.
Right now, those fans are enjoying a nine-point Storm lead with 1:39 left in the first quarter. The team continues to clamp down on defense.
Storm Stars Shining
Second Quarter: Storm 31, San Antonio 22
A great first quarter and a half for Lauren Jackson. After an alley-oop layup finish off a Sue Bird feed, Jackson has 11 points and seven rebounds against a smaller San Antonio frontline. Michelle Snow was frustrated by Jackson's physical play and drew a technical for an extra slap at the ball after a shooting foul.
Jackson's great game makes it all the more amazing that she's not among the leaders in voting for WNBA vs. USA Basketball: Stars at the Sun. On first balloting results, only Sue Bird among the Storm's starters was in the top 10 group which is guaranteed spots in the game (either as one of the WNBA stars or on the USA Basketball roster). Meanwhile, all five Silver Stars on the ballot lead first returns. Voting ends tomorrow, so make sure you make your vote count for the Storm's stars.
Defense, Rebounding Carry Storm
End First Quarter: Storm 20, San Antonio 14
The Storm finished the first quarter making just one out of three shots (7-of-21), but still holds a six-point lead. Why? San Antonio shot just 29.4 percent and the Storm also held a massive 18-7 advantage on the glass, including nine offensive boards to four defensive ones for the Silver Stars. That's incredible rebounding dominance. The Storm had eight second-chance points.
Storm Hits Some Shots
First Quarter: Storm 16, San Antonio 11
The Silver Stars briefly took the lead at 9-7 with an Edwige Lawson three-pointer, but since then the Storm has gone on a 9-2 run to open up a five-point lead. What we've seen happen is the Storm is finally hitting some shots. The team is still under 30 percent (5-of-18, 27.8 percent), but has made three of its last five shots. Le'coe Willingham has chipped in a bucket and two free throws, playing well off the bench in the paint.
Storm Offsets Sloppy Play
First Quarter: Storm 7, San Antonio 4
Unusual start for the Storm, which has struggled with turnovers in the first five minutes of the game, coughing the ball up four times. Maybe the first possession was an omen; the Storm had five offensive rebounds but missed five shot attempts at close range before Swin Cash finally drew a foul and went to the line for two shots. The Storm has pounded the offensive glass, coming up with six second chances - although 2-for-11 shooting has produced a lot of opportunities. Even as the Storm starters shooting better, that should be somewhere the team can have success. San Antonio is one of the league's weaker rebounding teams, while the Storm is the best in the WNBA.
Just caught word from the Silver Stars Twitter account that backup center Ruth Riley did not travel with the team because of a right pinkie finger injury. That should mean more minutes for rookie Jayne Appel, the No. 5 overall pick in this year's WNBA Draft out of Stanford.
Silver Stars Response
These two teams met three weeks ago today in San Antonio and the Storm came away with a lopsided 84-56 victory at the AT&T Center. Storm Head Coach Brian Agler suspects that performance will be a motivating factor for the Silver Stars tonight.
"I spent three years down there [as an assistant coach] and I know those people real well," said Agler. "I know that we embarrassed them a couple of weeks ago. I know what kind of competitors we are. What I just told you is the same thing I told the team yesterday - they're coming in off a good win and they're coming in with confidence and they're going to try to do the same thing to us we did to them."
"My thing was they just didn't put enough effort in," said San Antonio Head Coach Sandy Brondello. "We can't go out there and play for you, so you just have to dig in. They have a lot of pride, so we showed film. We didn't have to hone the point in, like we were embarrassed, we got our butts kicked. We didn't come ready to play; this is the best team in the league. They know that we're up against a tough opponent, but they know we can do better than we did last time. Hopefully, that's the case today."
We'll see how that plays out during tonight's game.
The Seattle Storm caps a busy weekend with three games in four days tonight, hosting the San Antonio Silver Stars at KeyArena on Dads & Daughters Night. The Storm split a back-to-back set on Thursday and Friday, losing at Indiana but winning in New York, and had a day off to travel across the country before returning to action at home tonight. With Phoenix's loss earlier this afternoon, the Silver Stars are now tied for second in the Western Conference, while the Storm retains sole possession of first place. It should be a great matchup, so stay with us all game long for the latest.