Records: Seattle Storm (9-21) at Chicago Sky (19-12)
Game Time: 09/06/15 at 3:00pm PST
Broadcast: No TV, Live Access streaming online
Season Series: Chicago won the 1st matchup in Seattle 94-84 on August 14th
As the 2015 WNBA regular season comes to a close, we have two teams in completely different directions. The Chicago Sky made the WNBA Finals last year (losing to eventual champions Phoenix Mercury), who are poised to make another strong post-season run. The Sky are currently hanging on to the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference and are trying to lock up home-court advantage for the first round of the WNBA Playoffs. Chicago is currently two and a half games back of the number one seed New York Liberty, but just one game ahead of the third seed Indiana Fever. The Sky are led by MVP Candidate Elena Delle Donne who leads the league in points 23.7 PPG, is 1st in FT % at 96%, is 2nd in rebounds at 8.8 RPG. and 4th in blocks at 2.1 BPG. Delle Donne is the complete package.
The Chicago Sky have four players total that score in double-figures. Besides Delle Donne, they are led by Cappie Pondexter (15.0 PPG), Courtney Vandersloot (11.7 PPG), and former Storm player Allie Quigley (10.8 PPG). Vandersloot also leads the WNBA in assists at 5.8 APG.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Storm are in year one of a complete franchise rebuild. While they are not yet mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, they would need to win all four of their final games and have the Los Angeles Sparks lose their remaining three games. A very tall order for a young team that has not been able to string three wins in a row this season.
But that's ok. For all the die-hard Storm Crazies out there, we knew this was going to a rough year for the team. You can't go through a full franchise rebuild and not expect to go through some growing pains. Frankly, it's much better to go this route than to do what the Sonics did for several years, which was to compete but just miss the playoffs. Where the Sonics would end up with the 12th-14th pick in the draft and not be able to land a real impact player in the draft to really improve the franchise. But for the Storm, they started this year out by winning the Number One pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft where they were able to land cornerstone player Jewell Loyd. They then traded for the number three pick and drafted Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.
While KML had a very rough start to begin her WNBA career, riding the bench more often than not. In the second half of the season, she finally started seeing more playing time and has become a solid contributor off the bench. She's now averaging 4.7 PPG per game. While that number isn't quite what Storm fans were hoping for after watching the UCONN star be a real sharp shooter in college, her game has already improved quite a bit. All signs point to contributing more in her sophomore season with the Storm.
Meanwhile, Jewell Loyd has flashed several moments this season as the franchise's next big star. While she hasn't come into the league and completely dominated, she has continued to improve throughout the season. She leads all rookies in scoring with 10.4 PPG. As the season has gone on, she has had multiple games where she's scoring 14, 16, 18 points and leading the team in scoring. Loyd will play tonight's game twenty minutes from where she went to high school at Niles West. It is expected that a large crowd of family and friends will there at tonight's game to support Jewell Loyd.