After the kind of season the Seattle Storm have had, nothing should be considered outside the realm of possibility.
Even Sue Bird rebounding from an abysmal first half shooting performance to nail a game-winning three-pointer with 2.8 seconds to lift the Storm to a 91-88 win over the Phoenix Mercury in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals.
With Diana Taurasi scoring 28 points on 9-15 shooting after a dismal performance in Game One, the Storm down as many as 17 points in the third quarter, and 2010 MVP Lauren Jackson out with foul trouble for much of the third quarter, there was almost a feeling of resignation to a decisive Game Three back in Seattle.
But you know the Storm — this is a team that faced 19 fourth quarter deficits during the regular season and won 13. A team known for beating teams with their poise down the stretch rather than simply overwhelming them with talent. And a team that not only has the best player in the world at point guard and center, but the 2010 WNBA Coach of the Year.
The Storm are a team built for big moments and in the biggest moment of their season thus far, one of their biggest stars came through for them even in a game that they very easily could have — and perhaps should have — lost.
Bird finished with 16 points on 5-for-14 shooting and eight assists while forward Swin Cash also rebounded from a difficult Game One with a game-high 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting with eight rebounds. Jackson finished with 20 points and eight rebounds despite her foul trouble.
Aside from Taurasi, Mercury point guard Temeka Johnson finished with playoff career-highs in points and assists with 15 points and 12 assists. The Mercury’s outstanding execution that helped them build their 17 point lead has to at least partially attributed to Johnson’s ability to penetrate and identify shooters as much as it was about Taurasi hitting shots.
With the Eastern Conference Finals not even starting until later tonight, the Storm will have a long rest before finally getting a chance to do the thing they’ve been focused on all year: winning a WNBA championship.