The Seattle Storm continue to struggle on the road. Last season, they were only able to win two road games all season long, ending the 2015 season 2-15 on the road. After Thursday's loss in Dallas, the Storm are now 2-5 on the road this year. Now they still have 10 more road games this season, so they have plenty of time to right the ship. This Storm squad is still very young and they're not going to go from the worst team in the league to a top contender overnight or in this case, in the very next season. But ideally, they will be able to turn the corner on the road.
At the end of last season, I talked to Coach Jenny Boucek about the struggles of winning on the road. She said "It's really tough for young teams. There's a lot of years in this league where the best teams are only .500 on the road. I mean it's tough to win on the road. There's a certain mentality and mindset and persistence that you have to have on the road, that we were close to, and we'll need to grow in that area next year."
So far this season, they've struggled again on the road. However, most of the games they are keeping things close. And ideally they will continue to improve as the season goes on. It's definitely something to look out for.
Returning to the game at hand. Once again the Storm got down big early in the game. Dallas was up by 10 points in the first quarter, but Seattle was able to rally and cut the deficit to just four points, 21-25 at the end of the first quarter. Breanna Stewart helped keep the Storm close and Seattle even took a lead in the 2nd quarter. Stewart led all players at half-time with 17 points. She was getting a lot of good cuts to the basket and points in the paint. She also finally knocked down a 3-pointer. It had been a few games since Stewart had actually made a three point shot.
Stewart would finish the game with a new career high, scoring 29 points on an extremely efficient 8-11 shooting from the field. She also got to the line numerous times and knocked down 12-14 Free Throws. Stewart also collected six rebounds and had four blocked shots. Stewie was by far the best player on the court for Seattle in this game.
Crystal Langhorne also played well. Langhorne played well in three of the four games on this road trip and she had another strong performance in Thursday's game. Langhorne finished the game with 16 points on 7-10 shooting and 7 rebounds.
Sue Bird seemed to struggle again, but not as bad as the game against San Antonio. There was some concern that her injury in the game against Indiana would keep Bird out of the lineup for a couple games. But she ended up playing in the two remaining games. Against San Antonio she really struggled. But in Thursday's game against the Dallas Wings, it just seemed like her shot wasn't going down. Bird ended this game with 11 points and six assists in 34 minutes.
Jewell Loyd continues to struggle shooting from the floor. She went 3-15 from the floor, but managed to score 12 points by going 6-7 from the Free Throw line. Loyd went 0-3 from 3 point range; a shot that was starting to go down a lot more frequently earlier in this season and now seems to have regressed a bit. Despite the disappointing field goal percentage, it is really good to see Loyd taking more shots. There have been some games Seattle has lost, Loyd has scored in the single digits and Loyd has taken less than 10 shots. She is the leading scorer on the team and can score from everywhere on the floor. She just needs get back into a better rhythm. To her credit, Loyd was also able to grab four rebounds and three steals.
Karima Christmas and Odyssey Sims both led the Wings in scoring with 17 points each. Christmas did a fantastic job of drawing lots of fouls as she drove to the basket. She went 6-8 from the Free Throw line. Christmas also added five rebounds and two steals. The Wings used a very balanced attack to lead Dallas to the victory. Five players scored in double-figures including: Karima Christmas (17), Odyssey Sims (17), Glory Johnson (10), Courtney Paris (13), and rookie Aerial Powers (13). Paris also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Popular player, Skylar Diggins, has not played much this season, still recovering from her torn ACL from last season. Tonight she logged 23 minutes and logged 9 points and 5 assists.
Seattle had a strong second quarter; out-scoring the Wings by 17-11; which gave the Storm a two point half-time lead at 38-36. Unfortunately, another poor third quarter; this time more on the defensive side of the ball allowed the Wings to take the lead for good. Dallas out-scored Seattle 31-19 in the 3rd quarter and would not relinquish the lead from that point forward. Seattle's rally came up short and they fell to Dallas 79-88.
Key Notes from the Game:
*Breanna Stewart scored a career high with 29 points.
*Breanna Stewart wrote down all the victims' names from the Orlando Club shooting on her shoes in order to honor those who lost their life from the shootings. Stewart will be auctioning off the shoes for a charity.
*Seattle forced 17 turnovers but had 19 of their own.
*Seattle was out-rebounded 35-24 and gave up 13 offensive rebounds.
*Monica Wright has been getting more playing time recently and logged 17 minutes in this game.
*Markeisha Gatling returned to the floor in this game after sitting out the past 3 games.
*The Dallas Wings used to be the Tulsa Shock who were originally the Detroit Shock.
Seattle finally returns home after a four game road trip. The Storm will face the undefeated (and defending Champion) Minnesota Lynx on Sunday at 4:00pm at KeyArena.