Storm can’t compete inside in dropping a 71-59 decision to Connecticut
Seattle gives up too many points inside, and doesn’t get many offensive rebounds in losing its third consecutive game
Special to The Seattle Times
UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Seattle Storm coach Brian Agler was very analytical after his team suffered its third consecutive defeat, losing 71-59 Friday night to the Connecticut Sun.
“In our starts, our energy, our focus defensively we made strides,” Agler said. “Now, we gave up too many points in the paint (46). We didn’t get enough offensive boards especially early in the game (Connecticut had 11 offensive rebounds compared with three for the Storm).
“But I’m gauging us from the three games that we’ve played. We’ve made some strides in those areas. Now we have to keep moving forward.”
Crystal Langhorne (15 points) was the lone Seattle player to reach double figures while the Sun (1-3) placed four in double digits: Chiney Ogwumike (18), Allison Hightower (14), Kelsey Bone (13) and Alyssa Thomas (10).
Ogwumike and Bone, Connecticut’s low-post players, inflicted the most damage on Seattle, especially in the fourth quarter when the Sun gradually pulled away until its lead reached 17 points.
“There’s no question they did a good job of sealing us deep and we didn’t make them play into congestion like I thought we would,” Agler said. “That being said, that’s an area in which we can get better at.”
As far as Sue Bird was concerned, the Storm did make progress.
“There was improvement,” Bird said. “Three games is a small sample size and obviously at the end of the day it’s three losses. so it really doesn’t matter. But for us as a team we’re just looking to get better.
“If you had seen the first two games (an 80-69 defeat against Los Angeles and an 81-64 loss to Phoenix) versus this game, you would have seen the difference. We’re going to stay on that track and try to keep improving. We’re new to each other, so we’re just trying to figure it out and go from there.”
The Storm bolted fast from the gate but the Sun led 18-16 at the first break.
Connecticut increased its lead to 33-27 at intermission due in large part to scoring 11 points off 10 Storm turnovers.
“Our effort was much better at the beginning of the game,” Agler said. “And as the game wore on, we sort of wore down.
“I wasn’t happy with our 10 turnovers in the first half. That hurt us. Obviously, it’s not where we want to be and it’s not where we’ll wind up being by the end of the season, but we’ll keep working through this.”
Seattle provided a glimmer of hope when Temeka Johnson connected on a floater that enabled Storm to close the gap to 54-48 early in the fourth quarter. But with Ogwumike and Bone leading the way, the Sun went on a 17-6 run and won going away.
Given the fact Seattle’s roster contains several new players, a case could be made that the team is still the proverbial work in progress.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been on a WNBA team that wasn’t (a work in progress) this early in the season,” Bird said.