It looked like a runaway win from the WNBA Seattle Storm as they started their game against the Chicago Sky on fire and building to a 31-11 into the second quarter including 29 points in the first quarter.
But just as has happened in previous games Seattle found themselves flipping roles with the Sky in the second quarter as they were outscored 30-13 including a last second shot by Chicago forward Tamera Young to make the halftime score a mere one point lead for the Storm 42-41.
Storm head coach Jenny Boucek once again talked about consistency being the team’s nemesis an issue that has followed them all year. Boucek said it’s not just “game to game but within games” too and they are searching to find that consistency and not allow teams back into the game.
“They started scoring. Our defense got a little soft, they started going inside and it just changed the momentum of the game,” said Boucek. They were getting buckets that slowed down our offense and then they got hope.”
Boucek said once the Sky got hope they started to hit shots and Seattle’s defense got soft and the team couldn’t sustain the energy they needed to finish.
“I don’t know whether we relaxed,” said Boucek. “(But) they made some adjustments (and) we got hurt inside rebounding and pounding it in the post.”
Storm center Crystal Langhorne who came into the game 18 for 18 in her last three games hit her first three attempts before missing a shot to come up two short of tying the record for consecutive shots made which is held by the Los Angeles Sparks Nneka Ogwumike.
Four of the five starters hit double figures in points but as in their game against the Indiana Fever another three-point shooter got hot for the opposition and the team didn’t have an answer.
Chicago guard Allie Quigley hit six of 10 three-point shots all in the second half, Quigley has been announced as a competitor in the WNBA All-Star three-point contest, and ended the game with 25 points.
For the Storm forward Breana Stewart led the team with 25 points and 11 rebounds, Langhorne and guard Jewell Loyd each added 16 while guard Sue Bird just missed a double-double scoring 10 points and giving out nine assists.
The Sky outscored Seattle in the third quarter (21-17) and fourth quarter (32-24) as the Storm seemed frustrated by plays on the floor and had trouble finishing plays.
Stewart said one of the biggest things the team needs to do is forget past plays and move forward positively in the game.
“I think not letting anything affect things. Not letting one play affect another,” said Stewart. “I think that’s one of the biggest things. Stuff is going to happen…and it’s just how you react to that and right now were not reacting the best way we could.”
Players and coaches seem disappointed knowing they have the talent and tools and not being able to mentally regroup to close out games consistently.
So as they head into this All-Star break it’s a break the team can use to relax, regroup and reenergize for the second half of the season.
“It’s kind of like within a game sometimes you don’t want halftime and sometimes you want halftime,” said Boucek. “I think we’re ready to have this break and reflect and come back at another level.”
Most of the Storm will have a chance to do that as the WNBA prepares for the All-Star game but two players will prepare to play at home alongside some of their West rivals. Bird was voted in as a starter for the game and Stewart was named as a reserve for the West Squad.
The WNBA All-Star game begins at 12:30pm on Saturday, July 22nd at the KeyArena in Seattle.
The Storm’s next game will be at 7:30pm on Tuesday, July 25th in Los Angeles against the Sparks. Their next home game is 7pm on Friday, July 28th against the Dallas Wings.