Unbeaten Storm frets about slow starts
Despite a 4-0 record, the Storm wants to end its habit of falling behind early and rallying in the fourth quarter. And they'd like things to change starting in Thursday night's game in Chicago.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Storm @ Chicago, 5 p.m.
CHICAGO — You've bought tickets or logged on to the WNBA's site to watch the games, but really, you haven't seen the Storm.
Not the team the 11 players imagine.
Seattle needed four consecutive late rallies to open the season undefeated. And aside from the win at Phoenix, where the Storm allowed an 11-point lead to evaporate before winning in overtime, Seattle has sputtered to start each game.
The team has talked about finally playing well for four quarters, starting with Thursday's matchup against Chicago at Allstate Arena, the Sky's new home.
"I sort of throw that one (the Phoenix win) out the window because it doesn't really matter where we play them, it's going to be a tight game," Storm coach Brian Agler said. "Both teams will be ready to play. Tomorrow will be interesting to see how we respond."
So, what's the issue?
Before nearly 7,000 fans at KeyArena on Tuesday, newcomer Svetlana Abrosimova joked that it might be the team itself. All five starters scored in double figures to defeat an aggressive Minnesota team.
"We feel like we have a long time to get things right, and they happen," said Abrosimova of Seattle's 25-point average in fourth quarters this season. "We start a game bad and we come back and we keep doing this. That's the dangerous part. Brian has really been emphasizing that — you have to play from the beginning. We have to get the killer mentality from the start, and let's get up 20 points and not have a lull."
A solid start will be key against the Sky (0-4), although that team did have leads in losses against Indiana, dropping the matchup late. But Chicago is an athletic squad with impressive perimeter shooting in Jia Perkins, Shameka Christon and rookie Epiphanny Prince off the bench.
The Sky also has strong interior play with center Sylvia Fowles, who played with Storm leaders Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson in Russia. Former Lake Washington High star Cathrine Kraayeveld, a 6-foot-3 forward, was traded to Chicago from New York, along with Christon. Kraayeveld averages 11.0 points and 4.0 rebounds, contributing to a different dynamic without Candice Dupree, who was dealt to Phoenix in the three-team deal.
"We want to get off to better starts," said Bird, whose teams needed overtime runs to win in 2009. "They (Chicago) are a team that hasn't won, yet, and that doesn't mean they're not good.
"It's a tale of two halves for us, and I don't know what to credit it to. It's definitely something we need to fix. In this league, the teams are too good to always come back."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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