Photo by Kailas Images.
1 Total Update since August 21, 2010
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
With their 76-75 win against the Los Angeles Sparks tonight, the Storm not only finished the regular season with a 17-0 record at home but also tied the WNBA record for most wins in a season with the 2000 and 2001 Sparks, of which forward DeLisha Milton-Jones was a member. On a broader scale, it’s the best home record of any team in Seattle history.
Camille Little had a career-high 22 points to go with 6 rebounds while Lauren Jackson had 21 points and 6 rebounds. Tina Thompson led the Sparks with 20 points and 6 rebounds.
However, questions about the 2010 Seattle Storm’s standing in WNBA history will have to wait despite their newly attained milestones. While on the one hand they know the records are worth pursuing, they also know that there are bigger goals to focus on.
"We haven't really thought about it and talked about it a whole lot," said Storm coach Brian Agler when asked about the records prior to the game. "Our goals have been getting better everyday getting prepared for the playoffs. But if I came up to you and said here's $500 if you can name our starters, would you walk away or would you name 'em? Yeah - it's sitting right here, it's sitting right in front of us. So since it's right here and it's our home court, it'd be nice to get. We're not going to die if it doesn't happen, but we're sitting right there."
What's keeping the 2010 Storm out of that conversation of great teams right now is that they lack a championship to go with all of this regular season dominance and fan appreciation. Neither Milton-Jones nor veteran Sparks forward Tina Thompson would say that the Storm’s regular season success puts them in the conversation as one of the league’s "great" teams. There’s a different standard entirely for that.
“We didn’t become a great team until we won,” said Thompson, who played for the Houston Comets teams that won the first four WNBA championships in league history. “Like the first year we won we weren’t a great team. Even the second time we won we weren’t a great team. We weren’t considered a great team until we won the three and four. So as much as the regular season tells a story, it doesn’t mean anything until you complete it throughout the playoffs.”
Although they lack the banner to make it official, Milton-Jones said that the 2010 Storm do exude the same sort of championship swagger that other great WNBA teams have shown.
“I think that they are right up there with those teams,” said Milton-Jones. “When I watch them on video or I’m playing against them on the court in real life. The feeling that they emit is like the feeling that the old Sparks teams — those championship teams — that we had or those Houston Comets teams or the Detroit Shock. The feeling that you have when you’re playing against those teams or when you’re on those teams, they have that right now. They are playing like a championship caliber team.”
Milton-Jones elaborated that part of the reason the Storm are performing so well this season is that they have outstanding leadership, players who have bought into their system, and players that know how to support their primary star players. However, the Storm also have multiple veterans with championship experience and, consistent with the comments from Milton-Jones and Thompson, they are doing their best to keep things in perspective:
With the playoffs ahead they are ready to top off an outstanding regular season with further success in the playoffs.
"When you're in the middle of it you kind of just don't really appreciate it as much," said Storm forward Swin Cash, who played for the Detroit Shock teams that Milton-Jones mentioned. "We talk about in here the same thing I talked about when I was in Detroit: anyone can get lucky and win one, but when you win multiple ones that's when you start putting your names in a different category. You have to finish it. You have to bring it home. I mean, everyone's been looking at us the whole season and it's up to us to bring it home in the playoffs...Everyone just has to stay ready so when your number's called you don't have to get ready."
At some point after the playoffs -- or as Agler and players have suggested, perhaps 10 years down the road -- they'll have time to fully appreciate the season they've put together similar to how the fans have done. For now, the focus remains clear.
"It doesn't implicate the playoffs, but it's something you can talk about the rest of your life," said Agler.
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Someone asked me the other day if I knew before the season began that the Seattle Storm would be this good.
I have no problem admitting that I didn't and to be completely honest I'm not sure anybody -- including the Storm -- expected them to be this good either. "This good" meaning "handing out epic beat downs with some measure of regularity".
There are at least three reasons for the Storm's success this season: first, the fact that they returned their entire core (and coach) while other teams either made major moves and had players coming in late from "off-season" play overseas was a huge advantage. Second, although neither will get strong consideration for Sixth Woman of the Year, both Svetlana Abrosimova and Le'coe Willingham have been huge for the Storm off the bench, both giving the team a Spark on more than one occasion and providing Agler with some regular options to look to on the bench. The obvious third factor is that center Lauren Jackson stayed healthy.
In any event, the Storm stand one win away from tying the record for most wins by any team in the history of the WNBA, a record currently held by the 2000 and 2001 Los Angeles Sparks.
STORM: Insider Preview - Storm vs. Los Angeles
With last night's victory, the Storm has a chance the make some league history with a win tonight. A victory would be the Storm's 28th of the season, tying the most wins by any WNBA team. The Sparks will be defending their own record. In both 2000 and 2001, Los Angeles went 28-4. With the retirement of Lisa Leslie, Milton-Jones is the only player left from those Sparks teams. In 2001, L.A. also set a record by finishing the season undefeated at home. A Storm win would match that accomplishment and actually do it one better. The Sparks went 16-0 at the Staples Center, while the Storm has a chance to finish 17-0 at KeyArena during the regular season thanks to the extended schedule.
It's an impressive feat and the fact that they have the opportunity to accomplish it against the Sparks with fans yelling "Beat-L-A" -- which might just be the best chant in all of sports -- as they also seek to go undefeated at home should make it a fun environment for fans.
For the Sparks, there are still playoff implications for this game. The bottom half of the Western Conference playoff picture is still far from clear and the Sparks could end up being the Storm's first round opponent when the playoffs begin next week. So although continuing to rest starters with an irregular rotation might make sense for the Storm, coach Brian Agler might see this as a good tune-up for the playoffs against a potential opponent and use the type of rotation he would normally use in a playoff series. With Agler and multiple players having said that the undefeated home record is something they take pride in, one would expect them to play to win...especially on Fan Appreciation Night.
The first 3,000 fans at the game will receive a free "I am home court advantage" shirt to honor the fans that create the home court advantage.
If you haven't followed the Storm closely, tonight's game -- potentially a celebration of a historic season -- could be a good time to start.