The Seattle Storm are in the playoffs after last night's win, but obviously would prefer to secure their current spot in second place.
They obviously have some breathing room now as one of the two teams in the Western Conference that already has a playoff berth, but they'd obviously like to win tonight.
There's some question about how or whether Storm coach Brian Agler will play Lauren Jackson, but to the Storm's advantage, they know they can play with this team without her: they only lost by one possession in their last trip to San Antonio. So that provides a pretty good blueprint for what they need to do tonight.
Three keys for the Storm:
Rebounding: Although the Storm have done a better job of controlling the ball with Jackson back in the lineup, they've struggled on the boards. That was the case in their 63-55 win against the Silver Stars at KeyArena on August 23 as well as late in their 69-66 loss in San Antonio, in which an offensive rebound, putback and three point play by rookie forward Danielle Adams beat them. The Silver Stars' are a better rebounding team with Adams back in the lineup but the Storm simply cannot afford to get beat on the boards against this team if they expect to win in their place.
- Turnovers: If Jackson does not play, we're also back to worrying about turnovers, which tend to occur because the Storm become far more perimeter oriented without Jackson and try to force passes inside. But the Silver Stars are strong in terms of both minimizing their own turnovers and creating turnovers, so it's critical that the Storm find a way to keep things under control tonight.
- Stop Becky Hammon's penetration: The Silver Stars thrive on crafty veteran guard Becky Hammon's ability to penetrate into the lane and kick out to shooters. That is especially true with Danielle Adams on the floor to help pull out post players and hit 3-point shots from deep. The Storm have done extremely well in containing Hammon this year, holding her to just five points even in San Antonio. But she also had nine assists in that game, which reinforces the point about how dangerous she can be even if not scoring.