After arguably their best game of the season against the Los Angeles Sparks, the Seattle Storm (6-4) have an opportunity to build some momentum before embarking upon a difficult road trip against the two best teams in the Western Conference.
The 2-8 Washington Mystics come to town sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference, struck by a rash of injuries including the last-minute loss of center Crystal Langhorne due to back pain just prior to their 73-63 loss to the Storm in D.C. on July 3. They enter today's game on a three game losing streak, while the Storm appear to be improving by the game.
Although Storm point guard Sue Bird won WNBA Western Conference Player of the Week for some outstanding point guard play last week, the Storm were far more balanced and efficient against the Sparks than they have been at almost any other point in this season.
So against a limping Mystics team, the focus has to be on keeping up the things that were working against the Sparks.
Three keys for the Seattle Storm against the Washington Mystics:
- Continue to attack the basket on offense: The thing that stood out most about the Storm's victory against the Sparks on Saturday was their persistence in attacking the basket. With Bird running the offense as beautifully as one could hope for from a point guard, her teammates did an excellent job finding gaps in a porous Sparks defense to get easy baskets and free throws. With the Sparks focusing more attention on the various points of attack on the interior and in transition, the Storm found open shooters on the perimeter and they capitalized with 52.9 percent 3-point shooting.
Rebound to prevent second-chance scoring opportunities for the Mystics: In D.C. the Mystics didn't shoot well at all but beat the Storm badly on the offensive boards in the first half (12-3) to avoid getting blown out. That's significant for the Mystics because they aren't a particularly efficient offensive team, but are second in the league in second chance points (14.10 per game) while Seattle allows the second fewest second chance points (10 per game). Based on the results of last game, this will be a challenge with or without Langhorne.
- Find some scoring from the bench: The Storm finally got some bench scoring against the Sparks, but it could be a difference-maker against the Mystics: the Mystics and Storm are last (11.50 bench points per game) and second-to-last (11.80 points per game) in bench scoring.