Who: Seattle Storm vs. New York Liberty
Where: KeyArena - Seattle, WA
What: Kids Day presented by Pirate's Booty & Doppler's Birthday
Radio: 1150 AM KKNW
- LiveAccess: Live Video
In nine attempts, nobody has been able to beat the Seattle Storm in KeyArena.
The New York Liberty might have the best chance as the Storm will be without All-Star forward Lauren Jackson in today's noontime game.
Jackson suffered a concussion after catching an elbow from DeLisha Milton-Jones in Saturday's 75-62 victory in Staples Center. Jackson managed to finish the game with 20 points and 8 rebounds unaware of the severity of the incident. After the game, Jackson called Milton-Jones a thug as the two seem to get tangled up in almost every game they play. Unfortunately, that wasn't the only rough and tumble play on Saturday.
As described on SBN's Swish Appeal, the increasing physicality of WNBA basketball was on display around the league on Saturday leaving WNBA message boards and blogs buzzing about the potential of suspensions. The Liberty were at the center of what might have been the biggest incident of the weekend with guard Cappie Pondexter fouling Phoenix Mercury forward Penny Taylor hard on a layup. SBN Arizona's Seth Pollack has suggested the apparent wind-up that Pondexter made is indicative of an intent to hurt Taylor while others around the blogosphere and Twittersphere have suggested Pondexter was going for the ball. You can be the judge of that, but ultimately Pondexter was ejected and fined and the Liberty are reportedly looking to move on from the event.
At this point, both teams are trying to move forward with a win. For the Liberty, playing the Storm without Jackson is huge -- the Liberty have been in the bottom half of the league in rebounding for most of the season and obviously crashing the boards will be easier with Jackson out. However, Storm point guard Sue Bird has a history of stepping up with Jackson out and if the first meeting between these two teams is any indication, Bird will be the key.
Bird played one of the best games of her storied career, finishing with 22 points and 10 assists, including 13 of the Storm's 30 fourth-quarter points. The outing was just the second 20-10 performance of her career, and it was the most points she's ever scored in a double-double. Not to be overlooked, Jackson had a 20-10 effort of her own with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Wright made a career-high three shots beyond the arc and scored a season-high 18 points, while Swin Cash contributed 16 points and seven boards.
Bird and rebounding aside, a large part of the Liberty's success will depend on what they do -- all season they've had a tendency to settle for jumpers rather than taking the ball hard to the basket. Coaches and players alike acknowledge the problem, but for some reason it keeps happening, as described by Swish Appeal's Lisa Rotter after the first meeting.
Transitional Phase: Can the NY Liberty refine their offense into one that runs instead of jumps?
When New York runs the transition game, they look at once more aggressive and more organized. I spent much of my last article begging for the ladies to get in the paint, and I will spend much of this one pleading for transition offense. My request for a post presence still stands, however. Even coach Donovan lamented that the team, "settled for jump shots instead of getting into the paint." For there are few things more frustrating than watching a team launch shot after long shot while their opponent continues to find themselves getting easy points at the free throw line as a result of driving to the basket.
With Jackson out, it would be especially frustrating for Liberty fans to watch their team shoot themselves out of this particular game from the perimeter.