Storm hopes momentum helps against Lynx
Coming off a win against lowly Tulsa, the Storm hopes to continue that momentum against a much tougher opponent, 10-0 Minnesota.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Minnesota @ Storm, 6 p.m.
It would be nice to look at Friday's win in Tulsa as a breakthrough.
But the Storm has been here before.
In the midst of the worst start in the franchise's 13 years, the Storm's only victories are against the league's worst team, the Shock. In both games, Seattle experienced an offensive outburst while showing its once-signature defensive strength.
Then, in the following outing, it faced an opponent with a winning record — Los Angeles — and suffered an embarrassing loss.
This time, the Storm (2-7) faces a team off to the best start in the WNBA's 16 years. Seattle hosts the Minnesota Lynx (10-0) at 6 p.m. Sunday at KeyArena.
The defending-champion Lynx have already surpassed the 9-0 starts by the Sparks in 2001 and 2003. Minnesota's win streak over two seasons is 13, nearing the WNBA record of 18 by the Sparks in 2001.
"We're excited about that," Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve told reporters Friday. "We're not a team that talks about records, but when it got to be nine we thought, 'What the hell? Let's embrace this thing and take our place in history.' We're happy to be the only team to start off 10-0."
Minnesota is cruising with balanced scoring and posts Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Rebekkah Brunson handling the dirty work for putbacks. It's a formula the Storm is still trying to kindle with its roster.
Storm coach Brian Agler moved veteran Tina Thompson out of the starting lineup. She has joined center Eva Kobryn and rookie Shekinna Stricklen in giving the team more production off the bench. Kobryn has made 10 of 19 shots in June, while Stricklen is averaging 20.4 minutes and contributing 6.7 points with barely any turnovers.
"You always need a good bench," Storm forward Camille Little said recently. "It's a part of us getting better and playing together. Brian has new players, too, so he has to get comfortable putting them in, you know. Sometimes he may not want to play them until he gets a good feeling on how they're playing and he has a trust factor with the players he's coached for a while."
Yet, the starters remain inconsistent. Point guard Sue Bird averaged 24 points on 66.7 percent shooting against Tulsa, but 8.1 points on 27 percent shooting in Seattle's defeats.
Seattle's posts don't get second-chance points like Minnesota. And Little, a mainstay inside, has improved her three-point shooting (45.5 percent) but isn't shooting accurately in the paint.
The Storm lost at Minnesota 84-71 in May and 79-55 on June 6.
The Storm's 86-73 win over the Shock was encouraging, but Minnesota is a tougher measuring stick.
"I don't know if we made any changes," Agler said after the road win in Tulsa. "We just played consistently."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com.
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