The Storm will honor Native American culture tonight as they host the Muckleshoot Casino Heritage Night. They will also look for their first back-to-back win of the season as they play host to the Atlanta Dream. This will be an important game for both teams as they are each on the outside of the playoff picture. The Storm (4-12) are currently a half game back of the fourth seed. While the Dream are currently sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference at 7-8, they are only two and half games back of the conference leading New York Liberty. Knocking off the Dream would be a signature win for the Storm, not so much because the Dream are one of the top teams in the WNBA, but because the Storm only have one win against a team not named the last place Los Angeles Sparks.
Keys to the Game:
Contain Angel McCoughtry:
Angel McCoughtry is the WNBA's second leading scorer at 21.1 points per game, and she can certainly fill up the scoring column. The Storm found this out the hard way earlier this month when she scored 23 points as the Dream knocked off the Storm 72-64 on July 5. However, she has been struggling with her efficiency this season, shooting a career low 36.7% from the field. This was evident during her last game, when she missed 15 of her 20 shots against Los Angeles. If the Storm can force her to take 18+ shots to reach her average, they should put themselves in a position to win.
Keep getting Jewell Lloyd her touches:
Lloyd hasn't exactly set the league on fire after being drafted number one overall in April, only averaging 9.6 points per game this season, shooting just 36% from the field and 25% from three. Her home game splits are even less impressive, averaging just 8.6 points per game and shooting a disastrous 15% from three. It seems Lloyd hasn't exactly gotten comfortable playing in the Key yet this season. However, she may have turned a small corner last game, as she scored 13 points against the Sparks (though she was only on 4-11 from the field). Lloyd may struggle with her percentages all season, and her below average performances may even cost the Storm a few games this season. That being said Lloyd is the Storm's future, and if she is able to play through her struggles and learn from them, it may pay dividends for the franchise and Lloyd down the road.
2014 All Star WNBA Shoni Schimmel is not only a fan favorite and damn good basketball player, but is also a Native American. She is a member of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The Storm will give out free "Shoni" shirts during the game Friday.