2011 WNBA Playoffs: Three Keys For The Seattle Storm Vs. Phoenix Mercury

The keys for victory between the Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury haven't exactly changed since the two teams last met on Friday.

So naturally in a familiar matchup, Mercury guard Diana Taurasi already knows what to expect and isn't wasting time waiting until after the game to respond, as Seth Pollack of SB Nation Arizona wrote yesterday.

Taurasi also feels that the Mercury can't rely on their run and gun system as much on the road, "...because for some reason there's a little bit more whistles going on, especially there."

However, one major difference in this game is that it will be the first time that these two current rosters have met each other at full strength this season. The Mercury traded away center Kara Braxton to the New York Liberty at mid-season and center Lauren Jackson was injured during two of their four regular season meetings.

But the most significant wrinkle since Friday's meeting is the expected return of Mercury forward Penny Taylor after sitting out a few games with back spasms.

Three keys for the Seattle Storm:

  • Transition defense: Penny Taylor doesn't always grab a lot of headlines or stand out to casual fans, but she's particularly dangerous as a ball handler in transition from the wing that helps making their extremely top-ranked offense even more efficient. Her ability to serve as best a passing and scoring threat also helps the type of 24 percent second half they had on Friday against the Storm.
  • Patience on offense: While defense will be important for the Storm, so will patience on offense - missed shots create more opportunity to run so they need to find high-percentage shots rather than settling for long jumpers. The Storm are shooting better in the second half of the season, but still have the tendency to settle for jumpers too quickly at times. With Jackson healthy, they need to make sure that they move the ball and force the Mercury to guard the post instead of bailing them out with low-percentage shots.
  • Rebounding: It was a key before last game and it was already mentioned at Swish Appeal, but Taylor adds a rebounder to the Mercury's roster. Kevin Pelton of StormBasketball.com quotes Storm forward Swin Cash as noting that rebounding is one key to slowing down the Mercury's fast-paced attack.

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