Betty Lennox is back in her comfort zone on the basketball court. And that's no accident.
Actually, it was because of a May 19 car accident that the Storm guard seemed out of her usual zone earlier this season, including a two-point outing against the San Antonio Silver Stars on June 4.
"The accident took a toll," Lennox said. "I don't think people realized how much it did take a toll on me, but I'm feeling a whole lot better."
That was apparent on the Storm's recent five-game road trip, when Lennox scored 16 points per game to raise her season average to 12.9, second on the team behind Lauren Jackson's 19.1. Lennox is coming off a season-high 23 points in a 76-74 loss to the Sacramento Monarchs last Saturday and hopes to continue the productivity tonight when Seattle (6-6) takes on the Phoenix Mercury (3-6) at 7 p.m. at KeyArena.
Lennox was riding in her agent's Mercedes when she said another vehicle sideswiped them. Lennox's back and neck were so stiff for weeks that she couldn't raise her hands over her head and wound up "shot-putting" the ball rather than getting a full rotation on it.
Regular visits to a chiropractor and masseuse have made a major difference.
"I'm still not 100 percent, but I feel a whole lot better," Lennox said.
Phoenix Mercury at Storm
7 tonight at KeyArena
Radio: KJR (950 AM)
Records: Storm 6-6, Mercury 3-6
Bottom line: Coming off its longest road trip of the year (five games in nine days), the Storm plays eight of the next 10 at home. Trips to Houston (June 25) and Los Angeles (June 28) come next week. ... Seattle is 2-0 against the Mercury this season and has not lost to Phoenix at KeyArena since 2001. ... The up-tempo Mercury leads the WNBA at 84.7 points per game but also gives up a league-high average of 90.1. ... The Storm scored a franchise-record 97 points when the teams last met, on June 2. ... Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi is the WNBA's top scorer at 25.3 per game and teammate Cappie Pondexter, a rookie forward, ranks fourth at 22.1. Lauren Jackson's 19.1 average rates No. 6.
Injuries: Mercury — None. Storm — F Wendy Palmer (left Achilles) is out; F Lauren Jackson (right knee) is questionable.
||I. Castro Marques
Coach Anne Donovan is glad to have Lennox back in the groove offensively, but the coach noted her defense never wavered.
"Betty's smart," Donovan said. "She struggled a little bit offensively out of the gate, but she really focused on her defensive end, and that freed her mind up to start shooting the ball better. She's in a good position now. She's helping us at both ends of the floor."
Lennox has especially heated up from the perimeter, netting 8 of 14 three-point tries in the past four games. She made just 1 of 8 in the first three games.
"Now, when I shoot the three-pointer, I believe it's going to go in," she said.
The Storm lost three of five on its recent road trip, but Donovan did see progress.
"We would have liked to have come back with more than two wins, but we came back a better team than we left," she said. "I think defensively we're doing much better than we had been doing."
The defense will be tested tonight against two of the league's most prolific scorers — Diana Taurasi (25.3 points per game) and rookie Cappie Pondexter (22.1). Pondexter scored 30 points when the two teams last met.
Jackson practiced Tuesday but was scheduled to undergo an MRI on her sore right knee later in the afternoon, Donovan said. Results were not immediately released to the media.
Jackson has been playing through the pain, and Donovan said her availability tonight would be "a game-day decision."
Asked who would start if Jackson couldn't, the coach said, "I'm not even looking at that."
Sandy Ringer: 206-718-1512 or email@example.com