Seattle, WA – In their second too last regular season home game of the 2022 season, the Seattle Storm started out with four straight three pointers. That flaming start kicked off a dominant showing that saw a complete team effort that encapsulated the definition of Storm basketball. Lockdown defense, running the floor, and a barrage from beyond the arch would give Seattle their 20th win on the season. The win would also move them one step closer to making sure that the playoffs run through Climate Pledge Arena.
The Storm got great contributions from every member of the starting five, with decent additions by the bench. MVP candidate Breanna Stewart led the way with 33 points and eight rebounds, while every starter except for Tina Charles poured in at least 13 points. There are other circumstances that came into play for Charles, though, as she only attempted two shots and got into foul trouble early.
With Storm legend Lauren Jackson in the building, Seattle showed out, but especially Stewart. Stewart continues to be the leading candidate for the most valuable player award, and her 33-point performance (her season high) only helps that case. When Breanna Stewart is healthy, the Storm tend to win a championship, or at very least make a deep playoff run. Stewart would discuss what it meant to her to have Jackson in the building.
“To me, LJ is obviously a legend, one of the best to ever do it, the fact that we have similar paths now after being drafted in Seattle… Growing up, she was one of the players that I was looking up to because of her versatility, the inside-out game. To be able to have her here, obviously it’s an honor, I think it’s amazing for her to be here for Sue and you want to put on a show for her. She’s definitely someone that I look up to, and we said it in the locker room, but she helped build what we are with the Storm. Really appreciating that and never forgetting it,” Stewart remarked.
For the Storm, the road to finish out the regular season is a bumpy one. Seattle will have to face the two teams tied for the most wins in the league, and this same Lynx team that is battling for a playoff spot.
The schedule does not favor Seattle to end the regular season, as their last three games are away from home. The order of those games goes Chicago (best record in the league), Minnesota (vying for a playoff spot), and Vegas (second best record in the league). I asked head coach Noelle Quinn about the importance of gaining momentum in these two final home games, and here is her answer.
“It’s extremely important. To be playing well, to garner the momentum that is needed to sustain us to the end of the year. You don’t wanna jump to far ahead, tonight is very important. Minnesota is in the playoff race as well; we know what type of fight and sense of urgency that they are gonna come out with. We have to match that, that is the type of vibe and feel needed in the postseason… It’s important to play at a high level to jump start us into this tough road trip ahead,” Quinn said.
The Storm get a few days off before returning to play, when they will tip off at Climate Pledge Arena for the final time in the regular season. Sue Bird and Briann January’s final home regular season game of their career will come in a tough battle against the Las Vegas Aces.
Seattle, sitting at second in the Western Conference, will need to win out in order to secure the highest overall seed and home court for the duration of the postseason. If they want to do that, they have to go through Vegas twice, starting with Sunday’s matchup that tips off at 12PM PST on ABC.