Game One was not pretty and was marred by poor shooting by key players on both teams, most notably WNBA scoring champion Diana Taurasi’s 2-for-15 shooting performance.
That aside, Seth Pollack of SBN Arizona points out two other important factors that could change in Game Two: the Mercury’s use of zone defense against a very disciplined Storm team and, perhaps more interestingly, the lack of use of their big lineup.
The second interesting decision was how little Gaines used his best lineup which consists of DeWanna Bonner on the floor instead of undersized point guard Temeka Johnson. Bonner finished with only 22 minutes compared to 32 for Johnson. DeWanna certainly didn’t look as sharp as we’ve seen her and perhaps she’s dealing with an unreported injury or illness.
From the Mercury end, that decision defensively could have as much impact defensively as Taurasi’s poor shooting night did offensively — the Storm have had difficulty defending and playing against bigger lineups at times during the season. The defensive chess match might be what makes this series most interesting and although Gaines made some interesting first moves, it will be interesting to see how he adjusts in Game Two.
For more on Game One, visit StormBasketball.com’s extensive review of just about everything related to the Storm's 82-74 win in Game One of the Western Conference Finals.