For the Seattle Storm perspective on the game, please see the storystream at SBN Seattle.
Although the Seattle Storm didn't need a victory yesterday, the Connecticut Sun did.
And given that the Storm were resting all of their starters -- including center Lauren Jackson sitting out to rest (not back spasms according to Jayda Evans) -- this game was one of those games that the Sun should have won.
So ultimately the 88-68 outcome is exactly what Sun fans should have expected if they have any hope of their team making the playoffs.
Nevertheless, as the young Sun continue to keep an eye on development, there are a few things to be taken from their performance against a partial Storm team that are interesting.
Sun statistical MVP: Asjha Jones
Prior to their game against the Storm last week, Mike Thibault commented that after Jones returned from injury they had to limit her minutes and just as she was getting to full strength and the team was starting to get acclimated to a normal rotation, Anete Jekabsone-Zogota went down. As they make a playoff push -- even if their chances are bleak -- having Jones play like she did yesterday would be a huge asset.
Of course the 9-12 shooting stands out, but perhaps what makes it most impressive is that so many of her shots were jump shots -- as with last time against the Storm. With her able to knock down outside shots and center Tina Charles continuing to be a force on the interior, this team has talent moving forward.
Storm statistical MVP: Svetlana Abrosimova
Even though Storm fans probably know what to expect from Abrosimova by now (and if they don't know, they should ask somebody), it's nice to see her have such an efficient game with the starters out. As impressive as her 62.5% 2 point percentage was, her 8% turnover percentage and 25.86% assist ratio which contributed to a pure point rating of 5.88 was also impressive given that she is playing bigger minutes than usual with starters sitting.
Key player: Kelsey Griffin
Prior to the draft, there were plenty of concerns about how effective Griffin would be as a pro. Some people considered her worthy of the high pick the Sun acquired to get her, others didn't even consider her a first round pick. However, it's performances like this one that showed the breadth of what a heady player like Griffin can do when making the jump to the pro game.
When Jekabsone-Zogota went out with an injury, Griffin's turnover percentage went up to the 15% range. Whether that was a matter of her role in the offense changing or something else, the fact is that her turnover percentage increased during the Sun's July slump. As turnovers are the thing haunting the Sun since the All-Star break as much as their field goal shooting, having a player who can play on the wing with an assist rate of 40% and a reasonable 10% turnover percentage is a good thing, even if for one game. It will be interesting to see how the rotation plays out with Jekabsone-Zogota back, but Griffin's ability to competently handle the ball should be considered important.
Key stat: effective field goal percentage
That the Sun shot as well as they did from the range that they did is actually quite impressive. They tended to take a lot of long-range shots, which are typically low percentage but they knocked them down while shooting over 50% from the field in 3 of 4 quarters as well as posting an effective field goal percentage over 50% in all four quarters.
A performance like that could simply be chalked up to confidence at home against a team that willfully played without its best. But for a team fighting to get into the playoffs, it's probably what you want to see.