During the 2010 preseason, the Seattle Storm and Tulsa Shock combined for 54 turnovers in the first-ever WNBA game at the BOK Center.
Naturally, the Storm's 32-turnover performance was chalked up to the combination of being a preseason game with irregular rotations and the Shock's chaotic "40 Minutes of Hell" style of play under then-coach Nolan Richardson. Both teams were figuring each other out while trying to play at breakneck speed.
It was preseason, it didn't matter, and the Storm went on about their business of winning the 2010 WNBA Title.
However, the way these two teams have been turning the ball over lately, another high-turnover affair wouldn't exactly be shocking when the two teams meet tonight at 7 p.m. PST at KeyArena.
The Shock (18.09/g) and Storm (17.31/g) currently have two of the top three highest turnovers per game averages in the WNBA. In their last five games, the Storm have averaged more than anyone with 19.2 turnovers per game. Turnovers got the Storm blown out in Atlanta, cost them a close game in New York, and nearly cost them a close win at home against the Connecticut Sun on Friday.
What might help the 12-10 Storm avoid another turnover debacle tonight is that the 1-20 Shock are having a season they'd probably like to forget. Case-in-point: the one reprieve from their turnover problem that the Storm have had in recent games was in Tulsa on July 30 in which they only turned the ball over seven times and got 29 points from Sue Bird to get a 89-72 win. Another performance like that from the fourth place Storm tonight would be a welcome sight - outside of that one performance, seven turnovers has been the outcome of just one quarter.
For the Shock, the turnover problems are at least partially explained by inconsistent play from their point guards. Both Ivory Latta and Andrea Riley are energetic and quick, but are also more scorers than passers and are among the least efficient point guards in the league.
But the Shock have been enduring more turmoil than just their turnovers alone. Rookies Liz Cambage and Kayla Pedersen, who had been the bright spots of a dark season, have seen their minutes decline over the last month or so since the Shock relieved Nolan Richardson of duty as head coach and replaced him with assistant coach Teresa Edwards, who will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame tomorrow.
It's fair to say that the Shock would need more than just excessive Storm turnovers to win tonight, but the combination of turnovers and the Storm's stifling defense could make this a rough night for the Shock.