On Friday, The Seattle Storm returned to action at KeyArena for the first time since hosting the 2017 All-Star Game. The home head secured a 109-93 victory over the Dallas Wings.
Breanna Stewart makes history (again)
Stewart became the fastest WNBA player to reach 500 career rebounds against Dallas. She entered the contest with 493 boards and grabbed her 7th of the night in the 3rd quarter for the milestone. On July 25, Stewart also became the fastest WNBA player to 1,000 points.
Although not promoted on social media, it appears that Stewart also reached 100 blocked shots. Per the Seattle Storm media guide, the UConn alumna entered the contest two blocks shy of 100. She swatted away five shots against Dallas last night.
The Storm offense was on full display against Dallas. Seattle shot a franchise-high 61.5 percent (40-for-65). The team tied a franchise record of 40 field goals in a game for the third time. 50 points in the paint is a season high for the Storm. The team picked apart the Wings defense with constant ball movement.
The team also went 11-for-15 from 3-point range led by Sue Bird and Sammy Whitcomb (3 each). Additionally, the team posted the second highest point total in the 109-93 win. Jewell Loyd led all shooters with a season-high 27 points on the night, Stewart added 20 points to the tally. The bench also contributed 17 points, something head coach Jenny Beucek was happy to see, “We got more off our bench than we’ve gotten in I don’t know how long … I felt like the rotation was good tonight and we didn’t drop off.”
The bench also contributed 17 points, something head coach Jenny Beucek was happy to see, “We got more off our bench than we’ve gotten in I don’t know how long … I felt like the rotation was good tonight and we didn’t drop off.” Whitcomb led bench scoring with nine points in just over ten minutes. She also added two rebounds and two assists.
Actions speak louder than words?
The Storm have been anything but consistent this season, especially at home. Coming into the contest against Dallas, Seatle was 1-6 at KeyArena. Unlike other times this season, Seattle was able to maintain a lead heading down the stretch. “This was similar to the Chicago game except when they came back, we backed down,” said guard Sue Bird after the game. “That didn’t happen tonight. They came back and we kept pushing and didn’t let them affect us.” The team showed grit, something the veteran felt has been missing, “We wanted to remind ourselves that wins are hard and it’s okay for these games to be hard … [t]onight was huge.”
Boucek added, “Teams will always make a run on you at some point. Tonight was a good step because we weathered and went on our own surge after that and I think the more we do that, the more we overcome the mental block we develop early.”
There have been questions whether the mental block of the team had to do with Boucek’s decision making. In an article posted by The Summitt on Thursday, general manager Alisha Valvanis stated, “I’m actively working with Jenny to see if we can make any adjustments to calibrate this for a playoff run, which has been set as a very clear goal.”
When The Summitt attempted to ask Boucek about the discontent of her players post-game, Storm PR interrupted the question. Before responding to the next question, Beucek replied, “But I will say this, I think the players showed you where they’re at tonight. They responded to the tabloids.”
With a solid team performance and bench production, Boucek may be right. However, the issue has never been the talent of this Storm team. The issue is consistency. TIme will tell whether conversations had (or not) within the organization will help Seattle make a second half push to the playoffs. After last night, the Storm is now 10-12 on the season and sit in ninth place in the WNBA standings, just on the outside looking in if the season ended today.