Seattle, WA – To begin a new era in the Seattle Storm’s franchise history without Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, the four-time WNBA Champions were blasted at home by the defending champion Las Vegas Aces. The 41-point loss was the worst in franchise history, as Seattle is searching for new faces to step into the spotlight and takeover alongside shooting guard Jewell Loyd. While the Storm came out in the first quarter and matched the energy and effort of the Aces, Las Vegas’ starting five imposed their will in the paint when the second quarter began and never looked back.
This game started out hot for Seattle and the Storm, as veteran point guard Yvonne Turner and a returning Mercedes Russell came out with energy and unafraid of the super team that is the Aces. Seattle was able to stay toe-to-toe with Las Vegas through the first quarter, with high energy and effort. Although rebounding was a primary issue for the Storm last season, Seattle was able to clog the lane defensively and hold Candace Parker and A’ja Wilson to limited impact through those first fifteen minutes. It appeared that this Storm team may be able to hang with Las Vegas in this season opener, as they remained active defensively and were using high energy to stay in the face of their opponent.
“Obviously nobody wants to lose, and nobody wants to lose this bad, we understand that. As professional athletes, you gotta come up with some pride and integrity. We’ve got a lot of new people in there that are kinda shocked. For us that was a good test, to play the defending champions, we’ve gotta see what it’s like to get to that level. I think it’s a good eye opener for us. We’ve just got to stay encouraged, watch film, and get better,” Jewell Loyd, Seattle Storm shooting guard, on today’s game.
With Mercedes Russell returning to the lineup following last season that saw her deal with a non-basketball related injury all year long, it appeared that Seattle was going to get some quality help with their paint presence. Through that first quarter, it appeared that was going to be true as Russell at center and Ezi Magbegor at power forward seemed to be a strong combination that was battling against the talented Aces front court. Las Vegas adjusted, and tortured Seattle in the paint for the rest of the night after those 15 fifteen minutes. The Aces were getting whatever they wanted in the paint, and when the Storm tried to help inside, Las Vegas was able to knock shots down from the perimeter. Things were falling apart for Seattle, and fast.
“A positive is that we have so much to work on, that’s not us obviously. I think we can get back to the drawing board and work on our strengths as a team. That’s my takeaway,” Ezi Magbegor, Seattle Storm center, on today’s game.
Following the biggest loss in Storm franchise history, Seattle looks to get back to the film and hit the practice court ahead of their next battle, Friday May 26th with a tipoff time of 7PM PST against the Dallas Wings. The Wings are coming off a seven-point season opening victory against the young Atlanta Dream team, as three of the Dallas starters scored at least 20 points including Arike Ogunbowale’s 27. It’ll be another tough test for Seattle early into this season, as the Wings and Storm have had brutal battles down to the wire in the past few years.