The Storm have completed the season at the All-Star break 12-9 after splitting the final two games against the Las Vegas Aces with both teams winning at their respective home arenas.
After wrestling a solid home win (69-66) against the Aces last Friday Seattle played Las Vegas even for most of three quarters at Mandalay Bay on Tuesday before the Aces took control for a double-digit win 79-62.
The Storm gave no excuses for their play and believed it was Vegas who had the upper hand in this contest.
“It wasn’t our night, they outrebounded us, and we turned the ball (over) multiple times,” said Seattle forward Natasha Howard. “I give credit to Las Vegas, they out hustled us the whole game. They did a terrific job on us; they executed their plan like they were supposed to and in the second half they just took off. We tried coming back into the game, but we couldn’t.”
It was a game of turnovers for Seattle who ended the night with 18 while giving up the rebound race as well to the Aces. Turnovers are an off and on problem the Storm have had this season and one that they know can’t happen anytime but especially at away games.
“You look at our inability to rebound effectively, we didn’t make them (turn) it over, which was one of our keys,” said Coach Hughes. “We turned it over 18 times, they had a good separation in that area in their favor this time. It was a combination of things that I think are really important, give them credit because I thought they played well.”
One of the things to come from the Storm and Las Vegas (13-6) games is a noticeable uptick in the battle of the guards.
Both Seattle guard Jordin Canada and Aces guard Kelsey Plum have stepped up their games this season and watching the two of them, especially in the last game in Vegas, go at each other it looks like a fun and intense rivalry within a rivalry for the former Pac-12 opponents that could go on for years.
Despite the loss for Seattle against the Aces, who retain the two spot in the league, the Storm drop to the sixth seed in a tightly contested league this season.
It’s been an up and down season in regards to the Storm’s roster with all three of their former number one picks going out on injuries and head coach Dan Hughes starting the season away from the team as he began cancer treatments.
Overall the team has stepped up to fill the voids left by losing three starters as All-Star Howard is putting together a solid MVP resume going into the break.
With the All-Star break coming this week and with All-Star guard Jewell Loyd able to get a couple of games under her belt after returning from her injury Seattle will look to come back stronger and ready to continue the defense of their WNBA crown.
““(The break) is really important to us because our line-up, having to move around, moving people out for injuries and getting them back. It’s been good when we get practice time,” said Coach Hughes. “We won the last four, before tonight’s loss, we had a week of practice. We’ll go back, be fundamental for a week, and then go to the last 13 games of the season. We’ll approach it by pulling this game together one more time and hopefully keep them healthy.”
After the break they’ll start with a championship rematch as the Washington Mystics, who are having another great season at 12-6, come in to town to take on the Storm in a little over a week.
Seattle defeated the Mystics in their first game this year 74-71 in Washington and will hope to continue their dominance over Washington when they play at 7 pm on Friday, August 2nd at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett.