Game: Tulsa Shock (6-20) at Seattle Storm (11-14). When: 7 p.m. Thursday. Where: KeyArena. Meeting: Seattle, 2-0. TV: None. Radio: 1090 AM
After allowing the Phoenix Mercury to come into KeyArena and end its 10-game losing streak a week ago, the Seattle Storm can’t assume anything about its season. Not even back-to-back games with the lowly Tulsa Shock.
Whatever confidence the Storm may have gained with the return of Olympians Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson was shaken by the 74-68 defeat that left Seattle’s post-Olympic break record at 2-4, all at home.
“I think we just had a bad game,” Bird said. “They had a good game and we had a bad game. We need to figure it out quick. There are only nine games until the end of the season and that’s not a lot of time.”
After losing their first nine games to fall into the basement of the WNBA’s Western Conference, the Shock has won three of its last five games, including doing something the Storm hasn’t done — beat the Los Angeles Sparks, 99-85.
The Shock also played respectably in their last outing, a 92-83 defeat to Minnesota Lynx, the team with the WNBA’s best record.
Storm coach Brian Agler said that integrating Jackson, as well as others returning from injuries, has been a chore.
“I think that we’re a team that’s in transition right now,” he said. “We’re bringing people in and we’re going to try to get better and make the playoffs.”
The teams have a rematch in Tulsa Saturday, the Storm’s first road game since July 13 and the start of a four-game trip.
The Shock was shocked when its premier player, 6-foot-8 Liz Cambage, said she wasn’t joining the team after playing for her native Australia in the Olympics, preferring to stay at home while waiting for a more lucrative season to begin in China. As did Jackson, she skipped the first half of the WNBA season to train for the Olympics.
But after the news, Tulsa beat the Sparks behind 21 points and 14 assists from their scoring leader, 5-6 guard Ivory Latta, who averages 13 ppg. Temeka Johnson averages 12.0 ppg and 5.3 assists, and rookie post player Glory Johnson averages 11.7 ppg and 6.9 rpg.
Coaches: Brian Agler is in his fifth season with the Storm. Gary Kloppenburg is in his first year with the Shock.
SEATTLE STORM 2012 SCHEDULE/RESULTS
|5/18/12||vs. Los Angeles||L||66-72||0-1|
|5/22/12||at Los Angeles||L||61-74||0-2|
|6/3/12||at Los Angeles||L||65-67||1-4|
|6/9/12||at San Antonio||L||67-80||1-6|
|6/22/12||vs. San Antonio||W||82-76||4-7|
|6/30/12||at New York||L||59-77||6-8|
|7/7/12||at Los Angeles||L||59-83||7-9|
|8/18/12||vs. Los Angeles||L||71-82||10-11|
|8/26/12||vs. New York||W||84-66||11-13|
|9/14/12||at San Antonio||—||—||—|
|9/21/12||vs. San Antonio||—||—||—|