Seattle, WA – This young Seattle Storm team continues to struggle in the middle of their 2023 season despite the positive flashes they’ve shown throughout the year, as their losing streak hit nine games with tonight’s defeat against the visiting Chicago Sky. The trend of Seattle plugging one hole and another popping open continues to occur, as the Storm were heavily dominated on the boards. They’re solid shooting from the field, points in the paint numbers, and free throw percentage were positives, but the humiliation on the rebounding side of this game was a big factor in why Seattle was never able to get a lead as they dropped their ninth game in a row. If they continue to fail at addressing the major issues in their game, that losing streak should only get longer.
In their first loss of the second half, a tough loss to the Las Vegas Aces that saw the Storm threaten to close in on the defending champions, Seattle was able to come out of the locker room with a strong start. Despite the strong shooting percentage that Seattle had overall in this game, at 46.7%, the Storm struggled in the first quarter to make their shots and take advantage of the few offensive rebounds that they did get to. Second chance points have been an issue that the Storm haven’t been able to fully address all season long, and even those are a byproduct of the teams rebounding struggles. Despite rookie Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu slotting into the starting rotation and helping on the boards, the team struggles in the rebounding department.
“We’ve proven this season that we can get ourselves back into games, but we don’t want that to be the case every game. The first half, their offensive rebounds definitely extended that lead,” Ezi Magbegor, Seattle Storm center, on the teams rough first half.
A positive to take from this game is the performance of the Storm bench, something we haven’t quite been able to enjoy for parts of this season as Seattle’s staff has opted to go with a shorter rotation. While they may work at times, and at others may be necessary considering the younger talent that isn’t in the starting five, the Storm got strong contributions from Jordan Horston, Sami Whitcomb, and Mercedes Russell. Those three, who all could arguably be starters on this team and around the league, were able to provide valuable scoring from a bench unit that at times fails to help their starters when a break is needed. While none of them really provided anything on the boards to earn more minutes than the starters that weren’t either, it’s hard to cast blame on them for something that the entire team failed to do.
“A lot of times, rebounding isn’t a skillset. It’s a desire to box out. Our mindset around that wasn’t sharp. It wasn’t only one of us, it was all of us,” Noelle Quinn, Seattle Storm head coach, on the team’s rebounding struggles.
Following this tough and obviously frustrating loss to the Chicago Sky, Seattle heads out on a three-game road trip that will feature a rematch against tonight’s opponent. The Storm begin their road trip on Tuesday, July 25th when they head to Brooklyn, New York for a battle against the New York Liberty. That matchup will be broadcast on ESPN3, with a tipoff time of 4PM PST as Seattle looks to complete an upset against a New York team that they’ve pushed to the brink in the times that they’ve met this season.