Who: 19-2 Seattle Storm vs. 4-18 Tulsa Shock
What: It will be the first visit to KeyArena for both Nolan Richardson and the Tulsa Shock. With a win, the Storm would be 20-2 and tie the 1998 Houston Comets for the best record in WNBA history.
Where: KeyArena - Seattle, WA
When: 6:00 p.m. pst || KOMO 6/16 || Live Access
Freelantz pretty much laid out one of the biggest and most mystifying thing about the Shock's season: the quarter that occurs after halftime.
Game preview: Tulsa's five things to watch as Shock (4-18) takes on Seattle (19-2) - Swish Appeal
...the third quarter meltdown. It's like a different team arrives on the court to start the second half, in almost every game Tulsa has played. Everyone sees it and knows it, the players and coaches continue to try to rectify the issue and nothing appears to work. Personally, I'd like to move to either a) ban third quarters all together or b) change their name to something other than 'third quarter'. Pretty please.
For today, we, Seattlites, will not oblige the request to ban the third quarter. But we will gladly respect the request to use a different name.
Pre-game links & notes after the jump and game thread in the comments.
- Another interesting storyline mentioned by freelantz is the Shock's claim that they perform better on the road this season.
Storm Return Home "Ready For The Unexpected" Against Nolan Richardson's Shock - SB Nation Seattle
Indeed the last three road games provide strong support for the play better on the road theory.
"There's probably a lot of truth to that," said Agler. "I think they get away from everything, you don't have to read and hear things, you're just to yourself -- you're with you and your team. And I think there's some truth to that. I think in general people play better at home, but I think in some cases when teams are going through tough times, it might be best to get away. A lot of times you gain some confidence in that way -- you're forced to play in new things together."
After winning the San Antonio game, the Shock traveled to play the Phoenix Mercury and lost by 9. When the two teams played in Tulsa on Thursday, the Shock were routed 123-91. Similarly, when the Shock played the Los Angeles Sparks at home on July 13th, they lost by 16; when the Sparks visited Tulsa, the Shock lost by 3 in overtime. In other words, there seems to be evidence that the Shock have indeed played better on the road lately, but there's a confounding variable to that as well that makes the Shock a bit of a different team since the Storm last beat the Shock 83-72 on June 27: the acquisition of point guard Ivory Latta.
From one Tulsa general to another: "When Latta's got it, something good usually happens" - Swish Appeal
Thus far, what she's bringing to the team in her six-game span is this - a new offensive and defensive intensity on the court and averages of almost 31 minutes, 10 points, five assists and a steal for the league's last place team.
"I'm a point guard. I'm a general out there, so I've got to do what's best for the team and help this team get over that hump," Latta determinedly states.
Above all the numbers is the confidence coach Richardson has in his newest on-court general. "With Latta, when Latta's got it, something good usually happens."
"She brings another shooter," said Agler after practice yesterday. "She's got deep range. And she's a point guard. She's somebody who can go out and get them organized and I think they give her a lot of freedom."
Thus far, Latta is only shooting 34% from the field in her 6 games with the Shock this season, but in her 4 starts she is shooting 45% from the three point line.
- Another interesting point from Agler's review of game film, it appears that the Shock are actually pressing less over the last few games.
"Well the last few games they have done as much pressing or as much trapping," said Agler. "We're expecting them to do that tomorrow, but I could see it going either way. So I think -- even myself -- we are constantly gonna learn things about our team and about the league and just to be prepared."
- Of course, when you're talking about the Shock you have to talk about the recent trade for Nicole Ohlde shortly after Thursday's game and the potential of more trades to come before tomorrow's WNBA trade deadline. As an opposing coach, that -- in addition to the acquisition of Latta since they last played -- can have an effect.
"They made a substantial trade here gaining Ohlde and moving Braxton," said Agler. "Both good players, both different players. So it will affect them a little bit, but it could be in a positive way too. You never know what's going on, you don't know what the dynamics are of a team."