Storm

Storm Struggling to Strike Lightning

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The Seattle Storm have proven they are starting the championship-building process from square one.

Despite being in a familiar position, their record shows they will be picking early in next year’s draft. Even though their 4-16 start is disappointing, the team in the Pacific Northwest shows their potential with plenty to work on. The Storm look to use the upcoming All-Star break to rest and return to their winning ways.

Emerald City In Unfamiliar Territory

It’s no secret Seattle has struggled thus far. They have lost four times more games than they have won. At the break, they’re fourth worst in points per game, averaging just 79.0 each contest. This is understandable given their lack of scorers, but the Storm are also struggling to move the ball, ranking last in assists per game at 17.5.

This is also not surprising, however, with the loss of their assist catalyst Sue Bird due to her retirement. As the Storm go back to the drawing board to find their point guard, their chemistry has taken a massive hit based on years past.

The team also struggles on the other side of the ball with a defensive rating of 105.2. This is especially uncharacteristic for them because they won championships by excelling on defense. At this rate, Seattle needs to score over 100 points per game to even compete with playoff teams. Losing massive defensive presence Breanna Stewart has expectedly hindered the Storm.

They are slowly improving in rebounding at least, averaging 34.1 boards per game, good for seventh in the league. The Storm typically play smaller with Jordan Horston at the power-forward spot and Ezi Magbegor playing center, so their deficiencies are apparent. Despite being just below league average in rebounding, they are among the best at preventing second-chance points.  They’re currently third in the league allowing 8.8 second-chance points per game.

As long as their rebounding numbers continue to improve, they have a better chance of competing with the better teams.

Despite their struggles, Magbegor and Jewell Loyd have earned their All-Star status this season.

Seattle’s All-Stars Shine Bright In The Sin City

Seattle’s two shining stars will be the brightest additions to the weekend in Las Vegas. Loyd makes her fifth All-Star game this season leading the league with 25.7 points per game. She’ll be one of the starters representing Team Stewart.

Loyd recently had her career-best game in a loss to Minnesota. She scored a career-high 41 points while adding nine rebounds. The Gold Mamba also dropped 282 points in June, the second-highest scoring month of June in WNBA history. Head Coach Noelle Quinn praised her play saying “She is finding ways to be efficient. Her three-point numbers and numbers in general are very good. She’s getting to free-throw line and shooting at a high clip. She is the best guard at her position, in my opinion.”

Even though Loyd is the only starter for the Storm, she isn’t the only All-Star. Magbegor is making her first appearance after a thunderous start. She averages 14.2 points per game— second on the team behind Loyd. Magbegor is amongst the league leaders in defending the basket with 1.9 blocks per game, ranking second in the league. She is bringing her thunderous defense from down under to the bright lights of Las Vegas.

The role Magbegor has been given this year is familiar for her, which is why she’s thrived, according to teammate Sami Whitcomb.

“I think we’ve probably seen more of this in her role with Australia than maybe you’ve seen it up until now in the WNBA, but a lot of that is an opportunity and she’s worked her way into this role here,” Whitcomb said.

While the Storm have been led by Loyd and Magbegor, they added a familiar face for more help.

A Fan-Favorite Reunion In The Pacific Northwest

After a brief stint playing overseas, forward Gabby Williams has reunited with the Seattle Storm for the rest of the season.

She established herself as a fan favorite last season, and Seattle could definitely use her defense this season. In 2022, she averaged 7.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, earning WNBA All-Defense honors. At 26 years old, she is one of the best and most athletic defensive wings in the league, which is exactly what Seattle needs.

Williams is also durable, starting and playing in all 36 games last season. She played in the EuroLeague in the offseason, but in order to be eligible for the WNBA season, she had to suspend her contract due to the newly implemented prioritization rule. Given coach Quinn’s track record this season, Williams will likely come off the bench, with increasing minutes as the season progresses. She will presumably take fellow UConn grad Kia Nurse‘s starting spot eventually, which will make the Storm’s defense significantly better.

According to Coach Quinn, “Her veteran leadership and work ethic adds so much value as we continue our development this season. Gabby’s offensive versatility and ability to play and guard multiple positions will make an immediate impact, adding another level of scoring and boost to our defense.”

It’s important for her to get back into the thick of things after the break so the Storm can halt their seven-game losing streak. Their next opportunity to turn their season around will be a July 20th home game against Las Vegas.

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Sue Bird Seattle Storm

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About Brenden Potts

Brenden is an American writer and Washington State University Sport Management student in Pullman Washington. He has less than a year of writing experience getting started with The Lead. He writes about the Seattle Storm for The Lead.

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