Live from Press Row: Storm vs. San Antonio
Storm Holds Off San Antonio
Final: Storm 82, San Antonio 76
Because of Jia Perkins' 20 points, the San Antonio Silver Stars were able to keep things close into the final seconds, but the Storm never cracked. The team inbounded the basketball without mistakes and knocked down a series of free throws. Tanisha Wright did most of the work at the charity stripe, making eight free throws in 10 attempts - both tying career highs. Wright's 20 points were a season high, and she added seven assists and five rebounds in a terrific all-around performance.
Beyond that, the Storm got offensive balance. All five starters and Tina Thompson scored double figures. When the team was really clicking, we saw the ball whip around the court, creating open shots as San Antonio was unable to keep up defensively. The Storm defense was tight throughout the game, holding the Silver Stars to 35.1 percent shooting. Only 27 free throws and 9-of-15 three-point shooting kept San Antonio competitive on offense.
The Storm will look to extend this season-long three-game winning streak on Sunday, when the Washington Mystics visit at a special 4 p.m. start time for Pride Night. Remember that $5 of every Pride ticket will go to the GSBA Scholarship Fund to help deserving LGBTQA students attend college. To get your Pride tickets, click here!
Jia Three Makes Things Interesting
Fourth Quarter: Storm 76, San Antonio 73
Tanisha Wright stepped to the free throw line and made another pair of shots to give her a season-high 16 points, but Jia Perkins answered at the other end by dribbling into a three-pointer to make it a one-possession game with plenty of time - 24.8 seconds - left to play. The Storm is now out of timeouts, while San Antonio has just one remaining.
Free Throw Contest
Fourth Quarter: Storm 74, San Antonio 70
With 28.8 seconds remaining, the Storm should be able to hang on this victory by taking care of the basketball and making free throws the rest of the way. The team will have possession of the basketball after a 20-second timeout.
Storm Looking to Put Stars Away
Fourth Quarter: Storm 65, San Antonio 59
Well, so much for that defensive struggle. The Storm has put 15 points on the board over the last four and a half minutes, but San Antonio has gotten going too to stay in this game. With 2:55 to play and a six-point margin, this could go either direction. A couple of Silver Stars buckets could send this game right down to the wire, while Storm stops and scores could put San Antonio away.
Fourth Quarter: Storm 50, San Antonio 47
As kids hit the floor for the Doppler Train, we're right back where we started this game - with both teams relying on their defense. The Storm has yet to score in the first 2:22 of the fourth quarter, yet San Antonio has been able to shave just two points off the lead. The Silver Stars are shooting 30.4 percent from the field and had one offensive rebound all game before coming up with two on the last possession to finally get on the scoreboard. If the Storm is going to win this game, it will likely be with defense - and with the crowd on its feet behind the team.
Speaking of the crowd, we have a familiar face in the house tonight. Long-time Storm center Ashley Robinson is here as a fan before her Washington Mystics take on the Storm on Sunday afternoon (). Robinson and former Storm guard Tully Bevilaqua - a reserve for San Antonio - have both gotten a warm response from the crowd. (The fans behind me have been urging Dan Hughes to play Bevilaqua, who has yet to get in the game). I also spotted the Mystics coaching staff, here to do some in-person scouting before the teams play.
Still Tight Headed to the Fourth
End Third Quarter: Storm 50, San Antonio 45
Ultimately, the Storm added just one point to its lead during the third quarter, which means we have a five-point game with 10 minutes to play. Credit the Silver Stars bench with keeping the visitors in this one. San Antonio's reserves have outscored its starting five 26-19. The Storm has gotten 16 points from its own bench, with Tina Thompson (12 points, eight rebounds) closing in on a double-double. Let's see if the Storm can get the crowd more involved early in the fourth quarter and open up this lead.
During the quarter break, we had the 4G Speed Race presented by Boost Mobiles as competitors raced around the court on their bikes wearing special Doppler helmets (complete with anemometers). Congrats to our winner, Jen!
Stars Hanging Around
Third Quarter: Storm 47, San Antonio 40
After the last timeout, the Silver Stars were able to put an end to the Storm's run by putting their heads down and driving to the basket. Each time San Antonio drew a foul, Head Coach Dan Hughes clapped in appreciation. The Silver Stars were able to get in the bonus and have attempted 10 free throws in the quarter - more than the Storm (five) has all game. Shekinna Stricklen's energy has gotten the Storm going recently. She drove from the basket for a layup in traffic, then created two free throw attempts by grabbing an offensive rebound and getting stripped going back up. Hughes wants another timeout to talk things over. San Antonio will have just two stoppages the rest of the way.
Storm Continues Run
Third Quarter: Storm 37, San Antonio 28
Dating back to the first half, the Storm has now scored 11 unanswered points to take a nine-point lead. The team came out of the locker room with a couple of well-executed plays to free Sue Bird for an open three-point look and get Ann Wauters a score in the post. Both players now have six points.
Sensing momentum turning in the Storm's direction, Dan Hughes took a quick timeout and brought in backup center Ziomara Morrison to get some more mobility in the post, as well as Jia Perkins for scoring punch. Watch for what happens the rest of the quarter - unless one of the teams chooses to use a discretionary timeout, we won't have another break in play over the final 8:40 of action.
Live Fear Factor
Halftime: Storm 32, San Antonio 28
During the half, Storm fans got the opportunity to compete in a special version of Storm Fear Factor. A field of six was whittled down to one winner through three rounds - eating fried grasshoppers, then fried chicken feet and finally a worm. As PA announcer Matt Pitman said, better them than us, but congrats to our competitors.
Storm Takes Lead, Momentum to Locker Room
Halftime: Storm 32, San Antonio 28
The Storm scored the final six points of the first half, taking a four-point advantage - the team's largest of the half - to the break. The second quarter belonged to the Storm, which outscored San Antonio 21-11 during the period. The Storm shot 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from the field and made a pair of three-pointers. Now, it's the Silver Stars whose shooting percentage has dropped below 40 percent. San Antonio made just 33.3 percent from the field. The Stars starters combined for 11 points on 2-of-11 shooting.
Both veteran coaches should have some adjustments at halftime, and we'll see who comes out of the longer room stronger.
Veterans Carrying Storm Offense
Second Quarter: San Antonio 26, Storm 26
No female basketball players have scored more points than Katie Smith and Tina Thompson, and we're getting a glimpse of why during the first half of tonight's game. Thompson (nine) and Smith (eight) are the Storm's two leading scorers, and Head Coach Brian Agler is continuing to go to them, calling plays for both players. The two of them have combined to make seven of their 12 shot attempts, including three makes from beyond the arc.
With her last bucket, Storm center Ann Wauters reached 2,000 points for her WNBA career. Wauters hit the 1,000 rebound milestone during Sunday's game, making this a historic week of basketball for her.
Another Coach T'd Up
Second Quarter: San Antonio 22, Storm 19
Seattle has become an expensive trip for visiting coaches. For the second consecutive game, the opposing coach has drawn a technical foul. San Antonio's Dan Hughes, usually mild-mannered, was whistled during a timeout for complaining about a charge called on rookie center Ziomara Morrison. We'll see if that call gets the KeyArena crowd going.
The Storm has found some offense in spurts. Katie Smith and Tina Thompson both have triples during the second quarter. They've combined for 13 of the Storm's 19 points. Morrison answered with a three at the other end. All three of her career makes from beyond the arc have come against the Storm.
Storm Shooting Still Struggling
End First Quarter: San Antonio 17, Storm 11
Well, a reserve did provide an offensive boost. Unfortunately, it was Jia Perkins for the Silver Stars, who knocked down four of her five shot attempts - two of them beyond the arc - for 10 of the team's 17 points. The Storm did get four points and four rebounds from Tina Thompson off the bench, but is still shooting 27.8 percent from the field as we head to the second quarter. The Storm will have to get into its offense more quickly in order to generate better shot attempts.
The quarter break was our first incarnation of Storm Fear Factor, featuring Katie Smith and Camille Little. Be sure to watch for that video on StormBasketball.com, coming soon.
Storm Hanging In with Defense
First Quarter: Storm 5, San Antonio 5
So far, the Storm can't get anything to fall from the floor, missing six of eight shot attempts. However, the team is still tied thanks to strong defense. The Storm has forced four San Antonio turnovers thus far, making the Silver Stars play deep into the shot clock. When the Storm is playing defense at a high level, it allows the team to compensate for the kind of scoring droughts we've seen at times.
Head Coach Brian Agler will look for a little more offense from the bench. Veteran Tina Thompson and rookie Shekinna Stricklen will check in after the timeout.
The Storm will be without forward Victoria Dunlap tonight after she suffered her second concussion of the month in practice earlier this week. Dunlap was scheduled to meet with team doctor Dr. Jordan Chun before tonight's game to help the Storm find out more about her condition. For tonight, the Storm will dress nine players.
Hello from KeyArena, where we're about to kick off a fun weekend on and off the court. The San Antonio Silver Stars are in town tonight for the first of two games the Storm will host. On Sunday, the Washington Mystics will be here. At both games, we'll celebrate Pride Weekend in Seattle, and also remember the 40th anniversary of Title IX becoming law, which occurs Saturday. There's plenty going on but Storm players are focused on the court and trying to maintain the momentum from two wins last weekend