The Storm have been a middling team without their star center, off prepping with Aussie mates for the Olympics. But multiple new faces will start to fill the void Friday against the Sparks.
GAME: Los Angeles (0-0) at Seattle (0-0). WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday. WHERE: Key Arena. MEETING: 1st. TV: KONG.
The Seattle Storm and their revamped roster will tip 0ff the first half of their 2012 regular season at Key Arena Friday night against the Los Angeles Sparks. With former league MVP Lauren Jackson opting to spend the season’s first two months preparing for the Summer Olympics with the Australian National Team, coach Brian Agler is forced to patch together an established group of veterans with the team’s recently added young talent.
The Storm added frontcourt depth with the acquisition of Ann Wauters and 37-year-old Tina Thompson. Thompson and Wauters are expected to help fill another void, when Seattle sent forward Swin Cash to the Chicago Sky in exchange for the second pick in the 2012 WNBA draft. Both former No. 1 draft picks themselves, Wauters and Thompson will offer an inside-out dynamic Agler hopes will create match-up problems for opponents. Thompson has averaged 15.6 PPG over her 15-year-career that spans the WNBA’s existence.
The Storm will also look to rookie combo forward Shekinna Stricklen to complement Sue Bird’s scoring. The No. 2 overall draft pick averaged 15.4 PPG her senior year playing for Pat Summit at Tennessee.
Bird said Wednesday on the team website that Stricklen’s athleticism allows her to be more versatile on both ends of the court. In staying uniform with slightly cliché guidance from any established team leader, Bird said Stricklen’s must let the game come to her to experience early season success.
“I would love to be a six-whatever guard because she can just do so many things,” she said. “The first day of practice she knocked down five threes in a row. The best thing for her is to not think too much, not to get worried about trying to run the play or make the right play –just play.”
SERIES: Season opener for both. Seattle is 16-17 at home and 24-30 all-time against LA.
LAST GAME (Seattle, Sept. 19): The Storm lost to the Phoenix Mercury 77-75 in the Western Conference semifinals.
LAST GAME (Los Angeles, Sept. 10): The Sparks beat Chicago but missed the 2011 playoffs thanks to a 15-19 record.
LOS ANGELES STATS/NOTES:
COACHES: Brian Agler is in his fifth season as Seattle’s head coach. Carol Ross is in her first season as Los Angeles’head coach.
COMING UP: The Storm travel to LA Tues for a rematch with the Sparks.
Seattle Storm 2012 Schedule/Results
|5/18/12||vs. Los Angeles||—||—||—|
|5/22/12||at Los Angeles||—||—||—|
|6/3/12||at Los Angeles||—||—||—|
|6/9/12||at San Antonio||—||—||—|
|6/22/12||vs. San Antonio||—||—||—|
|6/30/12||at New York||—||—||—|
|7/7/12||at Los Angeles||—||—||—|
|8/18/12||vs. Los Angeles||—||—||—|
|8/26/12||vs. New York||—||—||—|
|9/14/12||at San Antonio||—||—||—|
|9/21/12||vs. San Antonio||—||—||—|