Storm gets blown out by Silver Stars, 77-56
The Storm missed defensive assignments, and then snapped at each other about it. Visiting San Antonio simply nailed the open shots on its way to burying Seattle at KeyArena.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Storm guard Tanisha Wright pointed to a dry-erase board in her team’s locker room. Coded instructions — some with asterisks — scribbled in red filled the white plane.
It was a tip sheet that Seattle basically ignored in a 77-56 loss to San Antonio at KeyArena on Friday.
“We didn’t play to our scout most of the time and they got easy stuff,” Wright said after the loss.
It was the Silver Stars’ first win in 11 tries in Seattle, a span that reaches back to 2007.
“You don’t want to give up opportunities like this and we gave up one in a big way,” Wright continued. “And not in a we-tried-our-hardest-but-fell-short type of way. We just stunk it up and gave it to them.”
Seattle missed defensive assignments in the opening two possessions of the game, giving up three-pointers both times. The trend continued and San Antonio breezed to a 12-2 run in the second quarter to help build a comfortable 47-29 lead at halftime.
Instead of making adjustments at the break, the Storm didn’t alter its play. A three-pointer by Cathrine Kraayeveld, a Lake Washington High graduate, gave the Silver Stars a 66-35 lead with 1:30 remaining in the third quarter.
“We didn’t even see what could have happened (with the scouting report) because we didn’t do anything,” said Storm forward Camille Little, whose team gave up 21 points on 20 turnovers.
Storm coach Brian Agler pulled most of his starters early in the fourth as second-year forward Shekinna Stricklen ran the point with the reserves. She scored 11 of her 16 points in the second half to lead her team.
San Antonio had four players finish in double-digit scoring, led by guard Shenise Johnson (15 points).
“I don’t understand why we were so flat. San Antonio outplayed us,” said Agler, whose team is 4-5 at KeyArena this season. “I didn’t see this coming.”
The matchup carried playoff implications, as the Silver Stars (8-14) entered the game 2½ games back from the Storm, which holds the final playoff berth in the Western Conference at fourth place with 13 games left in the regular season.
Fitting, then, that the weekend’s games have a playoff feel with the Storm (9-12) playing the Silver Stars again on Sunday at KeyArena. The rare scheduling is the league’s attempt to cut down on travel expenses. Later in the season, Seattle will play a similar format against Minnesota and at San Antonio.
Seattle is 1-4 against Tulsa (7-16) and San Antonio, which are also jockeying for a postseason berth. Tulsa lost 70-67 in Phoenix on Friday.
The Storm is aiming for a WNBA-record 10th consecutive berth.
“We need to understand every single game means playoff implications from here on out,” Wright said. “We can’t take one game off. We couldn’t take this game off, either... but we’ll turn around and play again Sunday.”
• San Antonio bought out All-Star DeLisha Milton-Jones’ contract on Friday. A 15-year veteran, Milton-Jones returned to practice this week after missing the past three due to a knee injury, but the injury persisted.
The team and player agreed to sever ties. Milton-Jones averaged 9.2 points in 15 games this season.
“This was something you do in situations that you hope helps both parties,” San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said. “She’s at a point in her career where I think you take (nearing retirement) into consideration, too.”