STORM LOSE: It took a minute, but it finally clicked where I heard Agler’s postgame spiel before — Lin Dunn. The Storm lost 80-67 to the Silver Stars (3-4) and Agler likened the team’s development to babies when they learn to walk. “I’ve got kids and every child ends up walking between 10 months and 13 or 14 months, they’re all on a different schedule and you can’t force it to happen,” he said. It was reminiscent of Dunn talking about how her inaugural team was a baby competing against 3-year-olds since the league was established in 1997 and the Storm was an expansion franchise. Well, that was then. Seven games into the season, a veteran squad like the Storm shouldn’t be talking about baby steps. It should be getting mad and using its collective experience to work its way out of is slump, right? Guess the vigor was traded away in Swin Cash and Ashley Robinson because there was none on the court against an opponent Seattle appeared to be able to beat — on paper. Smith was so agitated, her only real form of expression were grunts and growls. “We are unified, we’ve just gotta make it work,” she said. “None of us our discouraged like we can’t do it. It just leaves a (growl) you want to get right back out there and do it, again.” San Antonio looked its best it has all season, getting balanced production, showing it has competitive depth. The reserves outscored Seattle’s 41-30 led by forward Danielle Adams (13) and Chilean post Ziomara Morrison (12). Storm rookie Shekinna Stricklen led the Storm with 14 points off the bench while Little and Thompson added 10 points apiece. The Storm’s sole positive was outrebounding the Silver Stars 37-30, but when you allow a team to shoot 46.8 percent from the field…Seattle returns home for two days before traveling to Chicago and Tulsa to complete the long road trip. “Right now we are just not getting the job done,” said Wright, whose team is off to the worst start in franchise history at 1-6. “We are not doing what is necessary to win basketball games.”
BREAK TIME: It’s more of the same in the second half, Seattle falling behind 48-36 with 4:49 remaining in the third quarter. Wright and Wauters have seven points apiece for Seattle. Young is starting to emerge for her team (eight) while Adams is finding lanes to the basket for six points. I’m going to break to write the daily version and will return for a wrap after postgame interviews. Check the Twitter feed (@JaydaEvans) for the final score.
HALFTIME: The Storm is down 41-30 at the break, allowing the Silver Stars to shoot 60 percent from the field. If it sticks, it’ll be a season high for San Antonio and the second consecutive night the Storm has allowed its opponent to shoot better than 50 percent. Minnesota shot a whopping 54.7 percent from the court on Wednesday. Bird is off. She’s 1-for-8 from the field, missing two wide open shots. Wright (seven) and Thompson (five) are the Storm’s offense to start. San Antonio is getting the balanced offense Hughes said he wanted prior to the game tipping off. Johnson, the rookie, has 10 off the bench, Christon has seven and Young has chipped in six. Seattle looks frustrated. Again, they’re going to have to stick together to pull out of the slump or it’ll be another loss. There wasn’t much of halftime show. A young woman sang “God Bless America” and there was a sponsor plug. The rest is as dry as Seattle’s game.
CHECK THAT: The Storm couldn’t continue its run. With the help of bad officiating, the Silver Stars are back up 41-28 with one minute left in the game. Appel is playing the best I’ve seen of her this season inside. Young is limited to two shot attempts, making both, but Johnson has 10 points off the bench.
STORMIN’ BACK?: Seattle is on a 7-0 run, highlighted by the hustle of Wright. Could this be the turnaround? The Storm is down 33-25 with 4:28 on the clock.
NO BOARDS: San Antonio is keeping its spur in the Storm. It’s outrebounding Seattle 13-6, limiting the Storm to one on the offensive glass to its 11 on defense. Seattle is shooting 33.3 percent to San Antonio’s 60 percent. The Silver Stars lead 33-18 with 5:32 on the clock.
FRUSTRATION SPOTTED: Smith was irritated at Wauters bobbling a pass and Thompson is frustrated with some calls from the officials. A Wright three-pointer has Seattle closer at 27-15, but the game is quickly getting out of hand and the Storm, again, is uncertain how to gain control.
REDO: Missed defensive assignments and some turnovers have led to Seattle being down 23-10 after one quarter. A three-pointer by Thompson kept the Storm from having less point production to start than it did in Minnesota, yet the game feels like a redo sans improved play. A normally poor shooting San Antonio team is 9-for-11 from the field (81.8 percent) while the normally strong three-point shooting Storm is 1-for-8 from that range. Christon is lighting up Seattle with seven points.
STILL SPINNING: The Storm is crashing on the Silver Stars’ posts, but committing fouls with the aggression. San Antonio is on a 12-1 run to take a 17-7 lead with 1:56 left in the opening quarter.
SEEING STARS: San Antonio is up 15-5 with 4:42 remaining in the first quarter. The Storm is shooting25 percent fron the field and has committed two turnovers after starting the game with a nice hi-low pass from Wauters to Little. Agler has placed Victoria Dunlap and Tina Thompson in the game to get something going.
It’s a homecoming for Storm C Ann Wauters, who last played in the WNBA in 2009 for the San Antonio Silver Stars, helping the team reach the 2008 WNBA Finals. But neither team will be focused on reuniting. Seattle (1-5) and San Antonio (2-4) are desperate for wins to show the season isn’t off track.
“We both have some new pieces that we’re trying to get integrated and we’ve both had challenging schedules,” Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said in comparing his team with the Storm. “All of us are getting closer to where we want to get to, but the league’s so good, if you’re not where you need to be, it’ll rise up and get you.”
The Storm is road bitten, last winning away from KeyArena when it defeated San Antonio in 2011. The Silver Stars have been bitten all over the place, losing four of its past four games and C Tangela Smith to arthroscopic knee surgery.
Adding to the drama is Friday’s three-point loss at Atlanta where Hughes was ejected early in the second quarter for arguing with official Denise Brooks. He was initially upset at a call against reserve G Tully Bevilaqua, but said he didn’t curse or do anything he was ashamed of in charging to mid-court to yell at Brooks.
On Wednesday, Storm coach Brian Agler had similar discussions with Brooks, but remained in his coach’s box when expressing his point before turning his focus to his team when the deficit grew to 20-plus points.
“I didn’t really want to leave,” Hughes said of his ejection. “I think we’re just going to leave that in the past.”
Agler is hoping to see more aggressive play after describing his team as losing its confidence, falling behind 25-8 in the opening quarter to Minnesota. Seattle lost 79-55 to the defending champions.
“It was a tough loss and we need to respond and play better,” Agler said. “We were definitely passive in the first part of the game. The first quarter was really disappointing. It was one of those cases where you miss shots and you get your head down and things got away from us. That can’t happen. You’re going to miss shots, so we’ve got to keep fighting.”
Who’s bite will be more fierce? Let’s get it started with your starting lineups:
F Katie Smith
F Camille Little
C Ann Wauters
G Sue Bird
G Tanisha Wright
F Shenise Johnson
F Sophia Young
C Jayne Appel
G Danielle Robinson
G Becky Hammon
Tonight’s officials are Kurt Warner, Cameron Inouye, and Angelica Suffren.