I'm assuming this is an ironic commentary on the irrevelancy of the Ms remaining season. If so, well done!
Despite Kayla McBride’s best efforts, the Seattle Storm managed to rally at the end of the fourth quarter Sunday night and beat the San Antonio Silver Stars. The low-scoring game culminated with a final tally of 72-63, unsurprising for the two teams that average the fewest number of points per game in the league (71.2 SA, 70.9 SEA). Both teams committed an unusual number of turnovers (15 SA, 16 SEA), 10 in the second quarter alone (all of them bad passes), so at half-time, given the level of play, it was surprising that the Storm were only down 34-35.
Towards the end of the third quarter, the Storm really turned things around. Jewell Loyd and Markeisha Gatling led the charge, scoring 8 and 9 respectively and raking in the rebounds.
The fourth quarter, though, saw them squander that lead as Danielle Robinson and San Antonio went on a 12-2 run to tie things up at 55-55. Sue Bird hit one of her classic three-point do-or-die shots to give the Storm a 68-63 lead over the Stars with 42 seconds to go. With 29 seconds left, Jewel Loyd got the ball on the floor and despite Sue’s incessant yells of “TIME OUT,” the referees didn’t give it to her and called a jump ball. They didn’t even put the right person in the jump circle, neglecting to watch the replay themselves and instead putting 5’ 10” Loyd in the jump circle with 6’ 4” (on paper, I think she may actually be taller) Jayne Appel.
Loyd, completely ignoring the size differential, proceeded to win the jump, tip it to Tokashiki, and then make two free throws to extend the lead to 70-63 and seal the game.
I’d like to say I had faith that the Storm would win from the start, but after their abysmal performances in recent games I’ll admit I had my doubts. McBride’s three three-pointers from the same place at the top of the arc in the first quarter didn’t exactly allay my fears of another poor defensive showing like the one we saw on Friday. In that game the Storm allowed the Sky 94 points, 24 of which came from the free throw line after sloppy and ill-considered fouls, so Kayla’s trio of threes had me fearing a similar defensive breakdown. McBride has shown huge improvement since her rookie season last year and turned from a streaky outside shooter into consistently dominant offensive force, not just from three-point range, but also with strong power moves around the basket. She has always been particularly effective against Seattle, averaging approximately 21 points against the Storm in their three meetings this season, including 19 points in this contest (13 in the first quarter!) to lead all scorers.
Sophia Young-Malcolm, by contrast, was uncharacteristically silent, scoring only 2 points with 4 rebounds and assists apiece.
I kept waiting for Crystal Langhorne to really get going offensively, as she’s been so effective against the Stars in their last two meetings, but she ended the game with only 4 points and 6 rebounds and shot only 25 percent from the field. Jewel Loyd more than picked up the slack, however, getting 6 rebounds and 4 assists to go along with 18 points. When asked in the post-game interview about alleged on-court discussions with her former Notre Dame teammate and current rival McBride, Loyd responded, “I don’t talk, I just play ball.”
Yes, she does. Although the Storm is 7-19 so far this year, I think that with a high draft pick (#1 Breanna Stewart, with any luck) we could have a great team as soon as next year. Ramu Tokashiki has been efficient and effective, keeping it up with 13 points, 9 rebounds in this game, and I have no doubt that as she learns more English and gets used to the WNBA, she’ll continue to improve. Jewel already looks great, and she’s only 21 years old. Gatling is 23. If the Storm hangs on to the talent it’s got, develops it, and gets Stewart next year, we will be a team to fear! For now, though, it’s just nice to beat San Antonio.
I think they may actually be trying to branch out in their Seattle sports coverage...but that was funny, Grumpy. :)
No offense to anyone... I wasn't trying to be snarky. I just assumed as much because of the title of the article (Last place scrapes out win over next to last place). I do admire the effort put into it... its a real article, and I LOL'd looking at it throught the lense of ironic commentary on the M's seasonal situation.
...I'm pretty sure I'd rather be watching a WNBA game than watching the Mariners.
And, having read it, I had the sense that I understood the (single) game well enough that I didn't need to watch the tape. So we are definitely in Mariners territory here :- )
Bill Russell was the first guy to say that if you enjoy BASKETBALL, as opposed to Cirque do Soleil physical feats and mugging for the camera, that the WNBA is the place to be. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how many fans truly appreciate X's, O's, and five players who are on the same page (get the best shot available to your team).
It gets pretty tiring watching the Lakers when you know that the Lakers' team goal is to "win because of Kobe." The self-absorption of the stars can be insufferable and it might be nice to watch basketball played in a team spirit. Of course, the NCAA provides that, but the NCAA isn't playing ...
Bill James wrote about the WNBA last year, pointed out that historically baseball has had to grow from seminal beginnings and establish roots that justify attempts to expand. The WNBA, by contrast, was birthed in large arenas with a "HERE THEY ARE GO WATCH 'EM!" attitude. James feels that this is an error in judgment almost impossible to overcome.
For example, the Mariners themselves suffer constantly from light, fragile roots in the area. Any grandpa-and-grandson duos that run around on Seattle Sports Insider?
But for me, the WNBA would be a welcome domain on seattleWNBAinsider.com. I could be gradually talked into looking at some WNBA games if an SSI author were bringing me up to speed on the key personalities.
Played one on one with girls being scouted, that is no joke. Good read.