Storm have work to do ahead of Game 2
The Seattle Storm sealed a last-second victory over the Minnesota Lynx in Game 1 of the WNBA Semifinals. But rest assured, Breanna Stewart still has work to do.
The Lynx hung with the Seattle Storm for 40 straight minutes, which was, to say the least, a new experience for the squad. Minnesota lost both regular season games against Seattle by an average of 19.5 points, but with just seconds left in this one, the game was tied. Alysha Clark swooped in at the buzzer to put back a Sami Whitcomb miss, securing an 86-84 Game 1 victory.
Kristi Toliver had an in-depth breakdown of the final play, for the X’s and O’s fans out there:
Let’s say it was a wakeup call for the Storm. Seattle is a title favorite, but they have plenty to learn from Game 1. At the forefront of it all, they have to find a way to get Breanna Stewart onto easier matchups. She went just 7-20 from the field, which isn’t bad, but it isn’t great, either. Even a player as talented as Stewie is going to have a tough time scoring through Napheesa Collier.
I mean, it’s STEWIE, so she all signs point to a monster Game 2. But when the team creates easy opportunities for her to score, the Storm are impossible to stop.
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In Game 2 and beyond, Seattle should also take a more aggressive approach trying to draw fouls. Minnesota has a short bench, and if Collier, Crystal Dangerfield, or Bridget Carleton are in foul trouble, it could be a wrap for the Lynx.
It’s tough for Minnesota to expect any more from Collier, but we can’t count out another phenomenal performance in Game 2.
“In order for Phee to be successful, she’ll have to find even more ways to get it done,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “But she’s got such a will about her, such an agility about her. If she plays like that, we have a chance.”
As long as Collier is locked in, the Lynx have a shot. Minnesota will have to have its secondary stars carry more of the scoring load, though, even if Collier won’t say so. She’d rather call upon herself to step up. Veteran move.
“Coming into the playoffs I knew that when I passed up shots it hurts the team,” Collier said. “When anyone does that, it hurts the team.”
On the other end of the playoff bracket, the Connecticut Sun will have to figure out how to bounce back without Alyssa Thomas. The star forward was averaging Thomas averaged 21.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in these playoffs, and it will be nearly impossible for the Sun to replace her production on both sides of the floor.
“She spearheads our transition game, we play through her in the tunnel a lot. So, you have to obviously offensively make some adjustments that way … So now you got to play a few people out of position that haven’t played a lot of 4. And again, you change your attack midstream,” head coach Curt Miller said of the Thomas-less offense.
The Sun still have the personnel to slow down Las Vegas, and a coach that can figure out how to run any rotation effectively. But the Sun’s title chances just took a huge hit.
The Dallas Wings, a team very much out of the playoffs, will have to make their offseason decisions carefully. Katie Lou Samuelson, Megan Gustafson and Astou Ndour are all potentially out the door in the offseason, but the team should re-evaluate each young player. They all have a spot in this league, somehwere.
As always Pepper Persley is on her A+ podcast game, interviewing Kelsey Plum of the Las Vegas Aces. Make sure you check it out.
Seattle Storm (1-0) vs Minnesota Lynx (0-1): 7:30 pm ET
Connecticut Sun (1-1) vs. Las Vegas Aces (1-1): 7:30 pm ET