Storm shaky after layoff; lose second straight to Silver Stars
Seattle Times staff reporter
The city changed, but the outcome was the same.
On Saturday night at KeyArena, the Storm hosted San Antonio and watched the Silver Stars' backcourt make itself at home. San Antonio went on to win its second consecutive game against the Storm, 78-68.
The Storm was coming off a seven-day layoff. Its last time out, on May 25, it fell by 11 in San Antonio.
In both games, Seattle found itself in similar situations.
Last weekend, Silver Stars reserve guard Shanna Crossley scored the bulk of her 14 points in the third quarter to squash Seattle. On Saturday, with the Storm down 60-53 early in the fourth quarter, Crossley made four three-pointers in a 17-4 run to end any hopes of the Storm (2-2) crawling back.
Before Crossley started her streaky shooting, she was in a staredown with Storm guard Betty Lennox, who was called for a technical for jerking her arm off Crossley's shoulder.
Lennox and guard Sue Bird pleaded with officials that Lennox's arm was tangled. But on replays, it appeared that Lennox's arm was between Crossley's neck and shoulder, and she used a little extra in removing it as she raced up the court with the basketball.
"I got a little on fire after a little altercation," said Crossley, who finished with 14 points and was called for a foul against Lennox. "That just kind of got me going and lit a fire underneath me. [But] my teammates did an excellent job of setting me up, setting screens for me, getting me the ball when I'm open, and then I just let it fly."
Storm coach Anne Donovan didn't leave the locker room area until 30 minutes after the game, leaving her team to deal with the back-to-back losses.
Donovan had a long coaches' meeting, while the players quietly talked in the locker room.
"It wasn't good," Storm center Janell Burse said. "We talked about our chemistry. People just pretty much said what they felt on the court. People were honest and hopefully, it's something we can get over."
The Storm had seven days to prepare for the rematch against San Antonio (4-2). Donovan used the time as a mini-training camp, but there also was some focus on the Silver Stars, a rising team in the Western Conference.
Yet the Storm appeared flat to open the game. And while San Antonio's backcourt was able to get open looks at the basket or simply drive untouched to the hoop, Lennox and Bird struggled and shot 7 for 22 combined from the field.
Seattle's bench was outscored 22-14, an improvement from being outscored 34-4 last week. But it wasn't enough.
"It's three years of the same stuff," said Storm forward Lauren Jackson, who finished with a game-high 20 points and 14 rebounds. "I don't have any answers. The inconsistency has happened a couple of times the last couple of years. It's still early in the season, and we're trying to get better."
Bird left the game early, limping off the court with a right thigh bruise in the fourth quarter. She joined Lennox on the bench, the guard having hit her head hard on the court after being leveled by a Ruth Riley pick. Neither re-entered the game, with Seattle trailing by 17 points with four minutes left, but Donovan said both should be fine.
The Storm has another extended break — this time four days before playing at Sacramento on Thursday. Other than the All-Star break in July, the Storm does not have another long gap off this summer, but it will catch up with the rest of the WNBA in games played with an upcoming stretch of five matchups in nine days.
"It felt like we really struggled," Donovan said. "We didn't execute our offense very well and we haven't yet against San Antonio. Defensively, we did get a little bit better. [But] I am very disappointed."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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