Storm frustrated again in 97-70 loss to Detroit
Seattle Times staff reporter
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The Storm's season can be summed up by one series during Thursday's game against Detroit.
Storm small forward Iziane Castro Marques made a nice dribble-fake move to lose her defender and convert an easy jump shot. But on the defensive end, she was late to cover Deanna Nolan, giving a disgusted look as the Shock All-Star drained a three-pointer over her head to give Detroit a 20-point lead in the third quarter.
The pendulum swung in that frustrating manner the entire game for the Storm, which lost 97-70 at The Palace in Auburn Hills. Castro Marques led Seattle with a game-high 24 points, but was upset because she was poked in the eye and elbowed by Detroit newcomer Tausha Mills, leaving the Brazilian sprawled on the court heaving for air at game's end.
No fouls were called.
"I had a poked eye and there was no call," said Castro Marques with a steamed look and fist propped on her hip. "It was a knockout, and we're going to review the tape. They [officials] are much better on the calls, but something like that, we're going to review."
The Storm (14-17) is still trying to clinch its fourth consecutive postseason berth. Its magic number remains one — one Seattle win, or a loss by Houston (10-19).
Back in June, the Storm lost by 16 at home to Detroit with starting forward Lauren Jackson and center Janell Burse failing to execute offensively or defend. It was much the same Thursday without the interior duo.
Jackson is in Australia tending to her ailing paternal grandmother. Burse remained in Seattle due to an injured left wrist, on which she'll have season-ending surgery on Tuesday.
"When you lose your two starting post players it's difficult because we are a post-oriented team, for sure," said guard Sue Bird, whose Storm shot a season-low 29.7 percent from the field against one of the league's better defensive teams.
"I would say 90 percent of what we do offensively is run through the post. It's nothing about A-Rob [Ashley Robinson] or Wendy [Palmer] or Astou [Ndiaye-Diatta], but when you have a player like Lauren Jackson or Janell Burse, you want to get them the ball most of the time. And a lot of times what I get, Betty [Lennox] gets it off of what they draw.
"We knew it was going to be a struggle to find what offenses worked against them, and it was hard getting those easy, open looks that we normally do get."
The Storm shot just 20 percent from the field in the first quarter and entered halftime down 45-32.
Robinson was a bright spot with her rebounding, collecting a career-high-tying 13, and the team improved its defensive showing from the loss to Minnesota on Tuesday. But Robinson joined normally reliable offensive players like Lennox in struggling to make layins and jumpers. Lennox, the team's second-leading scorer behind Jackson, was 3 for 13 from the field for 13 points.
Jackson is expected to return today and start on Saturday against Washington. Burse is not expected to play and will have her wrist re-evaluated today.
"Our post players tried their best to fill in for them [Jackson and Burse], and now we go home and we get Lauren back," Storm coach Anne Donovan said. "Hopefully, this experience will help us plug the hole."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com
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