By no means was the Seattle Storm's 73-63 win over the Washington Mystics this afternoon on NBA TV an example of the best the WNBA has to offer.
But that doesn't mean the game was without bright sports for the Storm.
Most significantly, the Storm turned in one of their best shooting performances of the season, shooting 47.4 percent from the field. Tanisha Wright's season-high 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting in particular was refreshing - in a rather sluggish game, having an additional scoring threat was vital to maintaining the lead against a scrappy Mystics team.
Wright's scoring complemented Swin Cash's team-highs of 19 points and seven rebounds and point guard Sue Bird's 17 points, five assists, and a team-high three steals. And while some of the Storm's nine steals were the result of poor decision making on the part of the Mystics, the Storm's defensive effort in the fourth quarter was outstanding.
The Storm's defensive rotations on the perimeter were outstanding, forcing the Mystics into contested shots with the shot clock running out on a number of occasions. Center Ashley Robinson's length and quickness on the perimeter allowed her to switch on screens and bother point guards and wings alike. Despite a break down on a three pointer and a few drives by Matee Ajavon, their defensive intensity noticeably increased in the fourth. Meanwhile, after allowing eight offensive rebounds in the second quarter, the Storm came out and allowed only four in the entire second half, cutting down on the Mystics' second chance scoring opportunities.
The result was holding the Mystics to 31.9 percent shooting on their home floor and handing them their sixth loss of the season.
However, the Mystics were not without bright spots of their own. Rookie forward Victoria Dunlap has quietly been among the most efficient rookies in the league this year in her limited minutes and she had herself an outstanding game today filling in for injured center Crystal Langhorne who sat out with back pain today. Dunlap had 19 points on 7-for-14 shooting along with eight rebounds, showing outstanding instincts around the basket and moving very well without the ball to create scoring opportunities.
Although this game might not have been the prettiest to watch, it is something for the Storm to build on: they won on the road, played solid defense, and got improved offensive production from a player who was struggling to hit shots previously.
The Storm will conclude their road trip on Tuesday at 4 p.m. PST against the Indiana Fever.