By Colin Davenport
The Seattle Storm got their season off to an emphatic start Saturday by securing an 86-61 victory over a visiting Los Angeles Sparks team, that was missing All-Stars Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike.
Both teams got off to slow starts with several defensive lapses and many missed shots. It wasn't until the 6:54 mark of the 1st quarter, that Jenna O'Hea got Seattle on the board with one of her signature threes.
First overall pick, Jewell Loyd, scored her first career point at the free-throw line, making the second of two shots at the stripe with 5:50 to go in the first period. At the end of the quarter the, Storm held a 20-18 lead.
Seattle would add only a single point to their advantage by the half, taking a 35-32 lead into the break
In the third quarter, however, the Storm began to pull away and never looked back. Seattle would outscore Los Angeles 22-13 in the 3rd period, and put their foot down in the 4th, where they outscored the shorthanded Sparks 29-16.
Four Storm players reached double figures, led by the 19 points off the bench from Renee Montgomery. Crystal Langhorne added 18 points and 9 rebounds, while Alysha Clark and Sue Bird each added 11. Bird also contributed five assists in the win.
All 10 players who were available for the Storm played in both halves, with nine scoring. Only Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was held scoreless, not attempting a shot while committing two fouls in just four minutes of action.
Another player of note was Japanese rookie Ramu Tokashiki. She started the game poorly, but turned it around by the second half. With her Japanese teammates in attendance, "Tok" finished with a respectable six points and two spectacular blocks that got the announced sell-out crowd of 9,686 at Key Arena on their feet.
With the first game of the season generating an emphatic win, the Storm now head to Tulsa to play a Shock team fresh off defeating the Chicago Sky despite a 40-point outburst from Elena Delle Donne.
The game will also mark the additions of Markeisha Gatling and Angel Goodrich to the Storm roster. Both players were signed off waivers just prior to tip off Saturday, and will fill the open spots left after the last-minute cuts of Vicky Mcintyre and Jazmine Davis.
In another ironic twist, Goodrich, who was cut by Tulsa during training camp, was then signed and cut by LA, now will join the Storm right back in Tulsa to take on her former team.
The Storm next play Monday night at Tulsa.