WNBA

Can Storm Get a Sequel?

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Coming off the Olympic break, the Seattle Storm have gone 3-2 in the last five games they played. While they lost two very close games without Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, they had two convincing wins against the Connecticut Sun and New York Liberty. The Storm have been a top-three team this whole year, and they look poised to make another deep run. However this year is a bit different, roster construction-wise, so how do they get it done again?

Steady Stewie

To put it bluntly, the Storm’s title run begins with Breanna Stewart. This season she’s been on an absolute tear, averaging 20.5 points per game, almost 10 rebounds per game, along with a block and steal per game. She is a critical cog in the Storm’s offense because can score the ball from almost anywhere. At 6’4″, Stewart is undoubtedly one of the most significant mismatches in the game. Every night, you know she’s going to bring it on offense.

Still, this year she doesn’t have Alysha Clark and former DPOY Natasha Howard covering for her on defense. Even though Stewart is averaging a block and steal per game, she will have to be better defensively come playoff time to help raise this team’s ceiling.

Stewart remains a superstar in the WNBA, but the Storm are lucky to have one of the best second options in the league too. 

https://twitter.com/seattlestorm/status/1429539803729514498?s=20

Jewell Loyd: The Other Closer

While most teams have one closer, the Storm are lucky to have two in Stewart and Jewell Loyd. When Seattle went on their huge run against the Sun, Stewart took the back seat and let Loyd do what she does best – get buckets. The Sun had no answers for her, and Jewell got whatever she wanted. Whether it was getting to her mid-range jumpers or pull-up three-pointers, she was a force in the clutch.

Even though Stewart is their best player, Loyd can go create a shot for herself from anywhere, which they will need in the playoffs. After the Olympic break, Jewell has continued her tear, making seven threes and scoring 29 points against the Liberty on Friday night. This season, Loyd is eighth in the league in clutch points per game, per WNBA stats.

While being this good offensively, Loyd has also been the best defender on the roster for the Storm, taking on every primary guard matchup this season. Loyd’s offensive and defensive value will be critical to their playoff run. 

The Supporting Cast

The Storm has one of the best big threes in the W this season. Bird, Loyd, and Stewart have combined for 49.6 points per game, contributing to around 58% of their team’s points per game. The next closest contributor for Seattle is Katie Lou Samuelson, who’s averaging 7.2 points per game. With Noelle Quinn resting Sue and Breanna post-Commissioner’s Cup, the rest of the roster outside stepped up to contribute.

Epiphanny Prince added 13 points against the Sky, and Ezi Magbegor chipped in 21 points as well. To deal with a team like the Aces, who are legitimately seven players deep, the Storm must get contributions from the rest of their roster. The Storm added Karlie Samuelson, a 48% three-point shooter, to their roster for the rest of the season to help with their depth and shooting. Reuniting her with her sister Katie Lou can’t hurt either.

Can They Repeat?

Every night the Seattle Storm can count on Stewart and Loyd to bring their best, which will be enough to win most contests. If they want to make a playoff push, their ceiling will be determined by the supporting cast providing spacing and playing their roles as best they can.

Even if they don’t win it all, opponents will have to go through the Storm to win a championship – their big three is that elite. 

About Akhil Hollingsworth

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