Live from Press Row - Storm vs. San Antonio
Storm Makes Big Plays Down the Stretch
Final: Storm 63, San Antonio 55
After the Storm's one-point win over New York on Saturday, Coach Agler mentioned that close games were to be expected the rest of the season given how competitive the Western Conference is, and for that matter the WNBA in general. We got another one tonight, even if the final score doesn't reflect it the same way it did Saturday. The Storm led by just four twice in the last two minutes, but each time came up with a score to extend the lead. Seattle scored on five consecutive possessions at one point and came up with 22 points in the final period - more than half of the team's total through the first three quarters.
What made the Storm's offense so effective during the fourth quarter was having everyone involved. All five starters scored, with Lauren Jackson and Tanisha Wright contributing six points apiece. Jackson really asserted herself in the paint, while Wright was aggressive going to the basket. Combine that with her terrific defense on Becky Hammon, who scored four points on 2-of-10 shooting, and Wright was invaluable tonight. Sue Bird and Camille Little added 12 points and Bird had five assists, while Swin Cash pulled down nine rebounds to lead the Storm on the glass.
With the win, the Storm is now a game and a half better than the San Antonio Silver Stars for third place in the Western Conference. The Storm also holds the head-to-head tie-breaker by virtue of winning the season series, which could loom large at the end of the season. The magic number is also down to five to clinch a playoff berth. The Storm can move one step closer on Thursday against the Tulsa Shock. Every game counts in the race to the playoffs, so join us and get your tickets now!
Hughes Senses Trouble
Fourth Quarter: Storm 51, San Antonio 46
Following a Camille Little score on the pick-and-roll, Dan Hughes took a quick timeout less than a minute after our last stoppage. I suspect Hughes was worried about the Storm fans getting into this game and making life difficult for his team with the Storm opening up a five-point lead. This is a big timeout because it leaves San Antonio with just two for the last five minutes of the game, both of the 20-second variety. The Storm still has four timeouts, including two fulls (one of which will be lost at the two-minute mark if not used before then).
Storm Takes Lead
Fourth Quarter: Storm 49, San Antonio 46
After entering the fourth quarter with a deficit, the Storm scored less than a minute into the period and has led ever since by as many as five points. But San Antonio isn't going to go away and is down just three at the moment. The Storm has badly outshot the Silver Stars from the field - 40.4 percent to 29.9 percent - but San Antonio has been able to make up the difference by taking better care of the basketball and crashing the offensive glass. The Silver Stars have 11 offensive boards, their highest total since Danielle Adams was injured.
The Storm has a special guest tonight sitting courtside. With the support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Megan is here tonight watching her favorite team and sitting next to the Storm bench. Megan also had the chance to attend shootaround this morning and meet her favorite Storm player, Camille Little. It's been great to see the smile on Megan's face this evening.
End Third Quarter: San Antonio 42, Storm 41
If the third quarter was any preview, we're in for a terrific finish tonight. During the entire period, neither team led by four points and most of the time the margin was that. Jayne Appel gave the Silver Stars the lead heading to the final period with a layup with 29.2 seconds left in the quarter. Appel and Ruth Riley have been very good for San Antonio in the middle. They've combined for 12 points and nine rebounds. The Silver Stars have 10 offensive boards and have held the Storm to just two, a ratio that may have to change for the Storm to win this game.
Storm Finding Flow
Third Quarter: Storm 32, San Antonio 30
Early in the second half, the Storm has a little more flow on the offensive end. The team has scored on three of its last five possessions and got a shot at the rim on one other. The notable difference from the first half is the Storm is getting points in the paint - four of the six in the half thus far.
Robinson on Summitt
Halftime: San Antonio 28, Storm 26
The big story in women's basketball today is Tennessee Head Coach Pat Summitt, who revealed that she has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Summitt plans to coach the upcoming season while relying more on her coaching staff. Storm center Ashley Robinson played for Summitt and Tennessee and texted her coach her support after learning of the news this morning. In reply, Summitt told her that she's doing OK and is focused on winning another national championship.
"She's not really worried about herself as much as she is the team, the fans and the ex-players," said Robinson. "She doesn't want to have a pity party, so we're not going to have a pity party for her."
Robinson is counting on Summitt attacking this diagnosis the same way she has opponents throughout her coaching career.
"When Pat faces adversity, she always handles it well; she always comes out on top," Robinson said. "It's something that is unknown territory. You've just got to pray that she has continued health as long as she can have it.
"It will be a sad day when she can't remember her legacy. I hope they find a cure and she'll always be able to remember how great she is and what she means to all of us."
Storm Surrenders Lead at the Break
Halftime: San Antonio 28, Storm 26
Becky Hammon's first score of tonight's game was well timed. Hammon made a runner with four seconds left in the second quarter to not only get on the scoreboard but also give her team the lead for the first time tonight at 28-26 going to the break. The Storm offense really collapsed during the second quarter, scoring just 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting. Turnovers weren't a huge issue, but the Storm was unable to get the ball inside, trying seven three-pointers and making just one of them.
San Antonio has done an admirable job of taking away the Storm's easy baskets. Seattle has just two second-chance points - those came on the first play of the game - and two in transition. Stuck in the half court almost all night, the Storm has floundered, shooting 34.5 percent from the field. The Storm desperately needs to get Swin Cash going on offense. Cash has been working hard on the glass, coming up with seven rebounds in the first half, but she's scoreless thus far and hasn't been set up for any easy looks.
A Milestone for Young
Second Quarter: Storm 23, San Antonio 21
With a difficult bank shot from the baseline, Sophia Young reached 3,000 points in her WNBA career. Young is the 38th player to get to that mark and the first to score 3,000 points in a San Antonio jersey. She's also the fourth player from her 2005 draft class to reach 3,000 points, and the second tonight. Candice Dupree just beat her to join Cappie Pondexter and Seimone Augustus in from that group.
We've got a variety of WNBA legends in this game, but we're going to have a great of women's basketball in the house on Sunday. Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman will be here for a pregame event where she'll sign copies of her new book, Playbook for Success. Click here to find out more about how you can attend.
Storm Gets Defensive
Second Quarter: Storm 20, San Antonio 18
The San Antonio Silver Stars have used an 11-2 run to get back in this game, briefly tying it at 18, but the Storm's defense has still been impressive thus far. San Antonio is shooting just 28.0 percent from the field and has seven turnovers - four of them coming on 24-second violations. It's rare to see four shot-clock violations in a week, let alone in a half. The Storm has really stifled Becky Hammon, who is scoreless and has missed all four of her shot attempts - many of them coming with the shot clock running down.
So why is this game so close? The Storm also has seven turnovers, continuing a persistent bugaboo. Seattle also has yet to really exert its will on the glass. The Silver Stars are one of the league's worst rebounding teams, but so farSan Antonio has more offensive rebounds than the Storm.
Congrats to Sue Bird!
End First Quarter: Storm 16, San Antonio 9
A very special milestone for Sue Bird a moment ago. Bird went to the free throw line with 19.4 seconds left in the first quarter and knocked down both shots, reaching 4,000 points for her WNBA career. Bird is the 16th player in WNBA history to reach the mark. She's also just the seventh player ever with at least 4,000 points and 1,000 assists (Tamika Catchings, Becky Hammon, Vickie Johnson, Katie Smith, Sheryl Swoopes and Diana Taurasi are the others). This milestone is yet another validation that Bird is the WNBA's best point guard - now or ever. Congratulations!
All Storm to Start
First Quarter: Storm 6, San Antonio 0
Great start for the Storm. Barely two minutes into the game, Dan Hughes has taken timeout with his team already trailing 6-0. The Storm has gotten some excellent looks at the basket, including the sea parting for a Tanisha Wright layup a moment ago. On the other end, the Silver Stars have missed all three of their attempts and not been particularly close to an offensive rebound.
So far, no movement on either milestone we're counting down toward tonight. Sue Bird, as you may know, is just four points away from 4,000 in her WNBA career. Meanwhile, San Antonio's Sophia Young is also nearing 3,000 career points. She's six away from that mark.
Welcome to KeyArena, where it's a clash of Western Conference rivals tonight. The Storm and the San Antonio Silver Stars square off in a matchup of teams battling for playoff positioning. The Storm opens tonight a half a game ahead of San Antonio for third place in the West. It's the fourth of five meetings between these teams and a win tonight would ensure the Storm the series victory and the head-to-head tiebreaker should they end up tied at the end of the regular season. With so much on the line, this is sure to be a great matchup. Stay with us all night long for the latest.