SEATTLE, WA — For the Seattle Storm, tonight’s game against the Indiana Fever could not have been any more beautiful. With a Storm record broken, an entire roster with points, and an outstanding amount of teamwork resulting in a remarkable 24 assists, Seattle swept the floor with a seemingly invisible Indiana.
From the beginning of play, the Storm was mercilessly out for the win. With Seattle coming off of three straight wins in which they scored over 80 points each, there was only one word in the forecast for the evening: (a) Storm.
Alysha Clark got the ball rolling for Seattle as she set the pace for a high-intensity, high-speed, and offensive-heavy game. Within just minutes of play, she scored her first 3-pointer of the season, marking the 100th of her career. Even with scary 3 turnovers within the span of a minute and a half in the first quarter, Seattle was still able to get their points, thanks to Clark.
However, even with the Clark pushing the pace of the Storm’s offensive play, the Fever managed to use Tiffany Mitchell off of the bench in order to end the first with only a four-point deficit, 26-22.
Yet, unluckily for Indiana, a single-digit deficit was quickly fleeting.
“We let them get off to a really comfortable start, specifically (Alysha) Clark. Then you give that momentum to a team and then it carries throughout. Coupled with that, we didn’t do a very good job offensively,” said Head Coach Pokey Chatman. By the beginning of the second period, the Fever was down by 13, as the Storm took their biggest lead with a score of 35-22.
Nonetheless, a glimmer of hope flickered in the hearts’ of the Indiana ladies, as they have come back from a double-digit deficit in every game this season. Yet, tonight, they would hope in vain.
Even though Clark ignited the fire of excellence for Seattle in the opening stanza, it was in the second that the Storm began to give of glimpse of the secret weapon for the evening: teamwork. Whereas the Fever had only one assist on 11 made field goals, Seattle had 10.
Breanna Stewart contributed to the first half success for shooting 2-for-2 in field goals which, even though wasn’t many points in the first half, showed promise in efficiency for a player who entered the game shooting a layup in the last seconds of play. The front court players owned the game for Seattle in the first half as they ended the first 20 minutes of play with a score of 47-34.
“That’s one of the things about this team that is so special. We have a lot of weapons and a lot of people who are willing to play as a team,” said Head Coach Jenny Boucek of the front court players taking charge.
“Different nights are going to be different people depending on what the defense is doing and that’s where your humble superstars come into place. Sue had eight assists, Jewell had five assists and Stewie had five assists. That’s our big three. They were facilitators in a lot of ways tonight and that says a lot about them.
“They didn’t need to score big points and most stars do. They have bought into and are leading the way with that teamwork.”
In the third quarter, the Fever continued to show no signs of any sort of defense as the Storm’s Jewell Lloyd began heating up after only scoring two in the first half and serving as, like Coach Boucek said, more of a facilitator. She, with the help of Indiana’s lifeless play, contributed to Seattle’s 57 points scored in 23 minutes. Of course, having three number one draft picks on the team doesn’t hurt.
Yet, with 17 assists by the end of the period, it was clear that, even with big stars on the court, the Storm refused to play a selfish game. In fact, the third ended with a triple from Seattle’s Noelle Quinn with an assist from Lloyd, her fifth assist of the game.
By the fourth period, the Storm was cruising to their fourth win in a row. Even more exciting, they were on their way to scoring over 80 points, a number they broke only eight times last season, but have already seen in three of their four games in 2017.
Even with the Storm’s teamwork on point, Clark refused to slow down her own personal hustle. She set a new Seattle record by shooting 9-9, a record for most field goals consecutively made for any Storm player.
“You don’t think about the numbers as a player. You’re just trying to play and take what the defense gives you. What was different for me tonight was that I was actually finishing. I take pride in being an efficient player. In the first few games, I wasn’t being very efficient. I was frustrated with myself in that. To be able to go out, finish and get my feel back was good.”
As Seattle’s victory became more and more certain, two rookies, Alexis Peterson and Lanay Montgomery, were able to contribute as well. In fact, every player who played Sunday night for the Seattle Storm officially made the scoreboard.
A final score of 94-70 propelled the Storm to their fourth consecutive win. Yet, their points scored were not the only impressive stat of the night. Seattle gave fans a “full meal deal” of a win. They ended the game shooting 61% -- they did not drop below 60% for the entirety of the game.
The Storm shot 8-18 from behind the arc and 16-17 from the charity stripe. Even with 31 rebounds, perhaps their most impressive statistic was their assists. They played the game as a true unit and finished the evening with 24 assists.
Tonight’s win goes to show all teams in the WNBA, even those with three former number one draft picks, the importance every player serves on the court, and, tonight, the Seattle Storm were proof that a team that works together wins together.