(Image courtesy of Seattle Storm twitter)
The Seattle Storm finished the first half of the season at 16-5, the best record in the WNBA. Seattle averaged 86.4 points per game which is second in the league and gave up only 79.7 points per game, which is third in the WNBA.
The Storm’s strong start to the season clinched them a spot in the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup game to take on the Connecticut Sun. It’s a $500k prize pool, and each player on the winning team will receive $30k.
Breanna Stewart led Seattle in scoring (20.6 PPG) and also averaged 9.6 rebounds per game and 45% shooting from the field. It’s a great start for the team’s number one option. Jewel Loyd has also stepped up big time for Seattle; her 17.5 points per game is second only to Stewart. The “Gold Mamba,” is shooting 44% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc. Her game is the perfect compliment for Stewart. Rounding out the big three is Sue Bird, who averaged 10.9 points and 5.5 assists per game. Bird is always efficient, shooting 43% from three-point land. It’s a trio of stars that make Seattle incredibly hard to defend consistently.
Seattle lost Natasha Howard and Alysa Clark this past off-season and inserted Mercedes Russell into the starting lineup for Howard; the Storm acquired Katie Lou Samuelson to replace Clark. Both Russell and Clark bring something different to the team.
Russell isn’t much of a shot-blocker like Howard, but she’s a good on-ball post defender and low post presence. Samuelson is not a defender like Clark, but she can space the floor because she is an outside threat. Samuelson is averaging 6.9 points per game and is shooting 36.6% from three-point land.
Seattle’s bench production is down from last year; and they’ll look to get more from that group after the break. The Storm brought in Candice Dupree to be a spark, but she was waived during the season. Seattle will also need more from Ezi Magbegor, who is averaging 5.0 points per game and Jordin Canada, who is averaging 5.3 points per game. Both players can get those averages up and help Seattle’s bench improve in the second half of the season.
We all know what the Storm’s big three bring to the table; it’s a solid foundation for a championship, but the role players will also have to step up big-time for the Storm to repeat as champions.