You aren’t supposed to win when you’re down 18 points at halftime. “I don’t know how we did it,” Lauren Jackson told an overjoyed KeyArena crowd after the game. Here’s how, Lauren: Your offense was your best defense.
In the first half, the Storm couldn’t hit a shot. The errant attempts, many by the team’s lesser players, resulted in multiple Phoenix fast breaks, letting the Mercury drop 56 points in the first half. In half two, Storm stars got greedy, and their shots began to find the basket. Forced to inbound from the baseline, Phoenix couldn’t streak down the court. They went ice cold.
At one point, the Mercury missed 17 consecutive shots. The Storm increased their on-ball pressure and held Phoenix to just eight points in the third quarter, an amazing defensive effort against a team that had broken the league scoring record twice in the past week.
You also aren’t supposed to win 21 of your first 23 games, or clinch home-court through the playoffs with one-third of the season left to play. But the Storm have now accomplished both of those feats.
Seems like Seattle’s beginning to take notice. Last night’s crowd was the largest I’d ever seen at a Storm game (listed at 8,044). And it’s not just the Storm’s traditional fan base. I can tell because there were actually other men in the men’s room when I went in, an all-time first in my personal Storm-going. (So much for my favorite metaphor: “lonelier than the men’s room at a Storm game.”)
The Storm next play Friday at 7 p.m. at KeyArena vs. the Chicago Sky (tickets). It’s “Women of Inspiration Night,” and the Storm will honor three awesome females, including King County Sheriff Sue Rahr.