The Storm got off to an impressive 43-37 first half lead against the Indiana Fever, largely behind their hot shooting, as they knocked down 68% of their first half shots. However, the wheels came off for the Storm in the third quarter, as they were outscored 30-9 during the period, and were ultimately unable to recover, as they fell 75-63.
The Storm were in complete control of the paint early tonight, as they scored 16 of their 19 first quarter points in the paint, scoring on a few nice give and go plays, and they also converted a few nice pick and rolls. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis provided the outside scoring for the Storm early, knocking down two perimeter jump shots, including a three. Despite shooting 66% from the filed in the first period, the Storm trailed after one, thanks in large part to the Fever's display from behind the arc and at the free throw line, as they knocked down two of three attempts from deep, and converted three of their four free throw attempts.
The Storm's solid game form the paint continued in the second quarter, as they scored eight of their first ten points in the paint. Jewell Lloyd built on her strong first quarter performance in the second, scoring four points on an impressive acrobatic finish at the rim and a nice pull up 18 foot jump-shot off a ball screen. Her youth did show times as she committed three first half turnovers, as she tried to push the envelope and force passes through tight windows. Alysha Clark also turned in a strong first half performance, as she scored seven points on two for three from the field, she also knocked down a pair of free throws Lloyd and Clark, along with Sue Bird, (two for two) Crystal Longhorne (three for three) and Mosqueda-Lewis helped the Storm shoot a sizzling 68.0%% from the field in the first half. A plus eight advantage on the glass- they out rebounded the Fever 17 to nine- also helped the Storm carve out a 43-37 halftime lead.
The Fever were lead by Shenise Johnson, as she scored 11 points and converted four of her first five first half shots. Despite having essentially no answer for the Storm on the defensive end, the Fever were able to use solid free throw shooting, (7-10 on first half attempts) and a disciplined approach-they committed just one first half turnover- to stay within striking distance.
The script of the game seemed to be flipped to start the second half, as the Fever went on a 22-5 run and took a 67-52 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Storm's offense faltered mightily in the third quarter as they managed to knock down just three of their fifteen third quarter attempts. The Fever were able to connect on a trio of third quarter threes, and connected on all nine of their free throw attempts as well. Jenna O'hea's three point make near the end of the third quarter was the lone bright spot for the Storm's offense in the quarter.
Jewell Loyd on the third quarter "We knew that they were going to come out a bit more aggressive and we came out a little flat. Our goal is to get better everyday and be a team off and on the court."
Coach Boucek added "I thought we played a good game for three quarters but we really laid an egg in the third quarter and against good teams, which Indiana is a very good team, you just have to have 40 minutes of sustained focus and effort and we had a really bad third quarter."
The fourth quarter was a dry affair for both teams on the offensive end, as they both combined for a mere four points through the first four minutes of the final quarter. Bird missed two fast break layups, and Mosqueda-Lewis also missed a fast break layup during that stretch. Lloyld knocked down a shot at the five minute mark to pull the Storm back within twelve. However, after a sensational offensive performance in the first half, the Storm's offensive attack completely fell apart in the second half. Bird may be the best personification of the offense's struggles. She started out two for two from the field and looked like she was in for a solid performance, if not a big game, however, she finished just 3-10 and struggled mightily for the majority of the night.
Lloyd ended up being one of the only bright spots for the Storm, as she finished with 15 points on 7 for 11 from the field. She knocked down a pair of impressive jump shots off of ball screens, used her athleticism to get to the rim and finish, and also knocked down her only three point attempt.
Markeisha Gatling turned the ball over to finish the game, and it seemed like a fitting end, the Storm turned the ball over 19 times tonight and was the main reason they were outscored 38-20 in the second half.
What's next: The Storm play host to the San Antonio Stars next Friday, August 28.