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Storm vs. Mercury: Statistical Summary...of Three Quarters

First, I realize that a summary of three quarters might smack of laziness.

However, it was a game in which the Storm were up 87-48 at the end of the third quarter leading both teams to empty the benches in the fourth. It just seems to make more sense to look at the first three quarters, especially since everyone on both sides seemed to acknowledge it was over by then.

"They played great," said Mercury coach Corey Gaines of the Seattle Storm's performance. "We made two runs at them to cut it to 5. They withstood those runs. They had a 10-0 spurt going into the half and they kinda closed the deal right there. We came out second half, they hit a three, 18. Lighting it up the rest of the night...It was just a bad game. It was a bad game. That happens."

No matter which side you look at this game from, it was pretty much over after three quarters, whether it be because of poor play from the Mercury or outstanding play from the Storm.

As a veteran team, Gaines said the Mercury know it's just one game and that there will be plenty of others, especially against a team like the Storm who Gaines said they will have to go through if they expect to repeat.

On the other side, there would seem to be a risk of complacency for the Storm with it starting to become apparent that the rest of the league is chasing them. However, they know as veterans too that it's still early in the season.

"I still think it's too early in the season," said Storm forward Lauren Jackson. "I really think every team is going to get better. I really want to be excited, but it's too early. It really is."

So before saying anything further, we can definitely say this: statistically, the Storm were more productive in three quarters tonight than they've been in any four quarters all season.

Storm statistical MVP: Sue Bird

Bird had 12 points and a season-high 11 assists for her first double-double of 2010 and 16th of her career in three quarters. More impressive might be that she did it without committing a turnover. Thus she had a pure point rating of 29.33. That's ridiculous.

Mercury statistical MVP: Candice Dupree

Dupree was just the most efficient player on the team with 10 points on 5-7 shooting through three quarters. As noted previously, part of that was a matter of both her and the team using her more as a face up and pick and roll threat rather than a post-up threat. She's much more effective in that capacity and if there's any bright spot to this game it's that she's acclimating to the team and the team to her, for whatever that's worth.

Key stat: Field goal percentage

I've said it before and the trend continued: the Storm outshot the Mercury 54.2% to 33.3% through three quarters. Early in the season, the vulnerability for this team was that they struggled from the field. Now with them shooting well, beating teams on the offensive glass (52%-27.3% through 3 quarters) and only turning the ball over 5% of the time, it's difficult for me to imagine how you might beat this team, especially at Key Arena.

"I don't see them losing another game the rest of the season really," said Mercury wing Diana Taurasi. "They're really good right now. They've got a lot of people doing a lot of good things and they look really good."

Of course, every team has off nights as the Dream and Mercury claimed against the Storm and the Silver Stars and Sparks could easily claim as well since the Storm had an off-game against the Sky and "woke up". However, at what point do you stop saying teams are having off nights against the Storm by coincidence?