The Seattle Storm are absolutely right that defense is what's winning them games right now, last Friday's 65-55 win over the Minnesota Lynx included.
"I was just happy that they understand that when you shoot the ball poorly - and we didn't shoot the ball very well tonight; we had some key people not hit shots - that the defense can give you a chance to stay in games and win games for you," Storm coach Brian Agler said after the win in which the team shot 41.2 percent from the field. "I think they have a lot of confidence in the defensive end. We do have to get better offensively. Maybe at some point we'll start making some shots."
Nevertheless, in a season during which they've struggled to make anything, that game was not only better than their 40.3 percent season average to date, but also arguably one of their best offensive performances of the season.
Phoenix was completely out of sorts when the Storm shot 43.3 percent in beating them in the teams' regular season opener and they shot 54.4% in a win against a Tulsa Shock that is not the most consistent team in the Western Conference.
So although losing a player like Jackson might at first seem disastrous, the Storm are actually improving offensively despite the significant loss.
The Storm's performance against Tulsa was due in large part to their 62.5 percent second half shooting, including significantly improved spacing in the third quarter. Their improved execution continued against the Lynx at times, but most importantly in the fourth quarter when they shot 46.2 percent and actually forced an opponent to come out of a zone.
Even more encouraging is that they did it without relying solely on point guard Sue Bird, who normally carries the team in Jackson's absence - instead it was Swin Cash and Camille Little who combined for 29 of the team's 65 points. Although it was indeed an impressive defensive performance, that they found offensive production from multiple places and were able to find points down the stretch when they needed them.
Starting a road trip tonight, that's what we should want to see more of: patience, balanced offense,