Turnaround time: Storm routs San Antonio
The Storm beat the Stars 88-67 Friday in San Antonio for its biggest margin of victory this season, a game after its worst loss, a 20-point defeat at Phoenix on Wednesday.
Special to The Seattle Times
SAN ANTONIO — Drastic turnarounds don’t come that often in the span of a season, yet it took just two nights for the Storm to craft a huge bounce-back from the depths.
Shekinna Stricklen scored 19 points in 20 minutes, and just a game after enduring its worst loss of the season, Seattle posted its biggest victory this year by defeating the San Antonio Stars 88-67 Friday at AT&T Center. The Storm lost by 20 points on Wednesday at Phoenix.
After falling behind by eight in the first quarter, the Storm (9-13) controlled the game the rest of the way. It included a 7-0 run to start the second quarter, and a third quarter when Seattle had four steals, limited San Antonio to 2-for-13 shooting and had a 15-8 scoring edge.
In the third, the Storm managed to survive a scoreless stretch of more than five minutes when it turned the ball over five times and was 0 for 5 from the floor. It helped that during the same stretch the Stars were 0 for 8 and turned it over twice.
“We were down by 30 points the other night in Phoenix, and sometimes a loss like that really gets your attention,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “If we would have lost by a couple of points, we might have felt a lot better coming out of there, and we might not addressed some issues that needed to be addressed. Taking a loss like that where they expose you on certain things, it got our attention.”
It was a complete turnaround from the defeat at Phoenix. In that one, the Storm lost the second quarter 21-4. It tied the franchise low for points in a quarter.
Now, Seattle’s 21-point victory Friday in San Antonio is the best this season, bettering the 10-point victory June 27 against Minnesota.
It came against a San Antonio team (11-10) that had won four of its past five. The Stars trailed by 12 at halftime despite matching Seattle’s 52 percent shooting from the floor and going 10 for 10 from the foul line.
San Antonio shot 35 percent after halftime while Seattle was at 58 percent.
“We made sure we were on task with our defense,” Seattle forward Alysha Clark said. “It was about not letting other teams dictate how we play the game; if we don’t get a stop on defense, not letting it affect us on offense. We made a conscious effort on playing through everything tonight, and not losing focus of what we had going.”
Stricklen was 8 for 13 from the floor (3 for 6 on three-pointers). Crystal Langhorne was 7 for 10 and scored 16. Sue Bird went 5 for 6 with 14 points.
Stricklen was 5 for 8 from the floor in the second quarter, including a pair of threes.
“She was feeling it,” Agler said. “It really put some life into us. She had a great spurt there, and we fed off that.”
Seattle shot 55 percent from the floor for the game, including 9 for 21 from three-point range.