I e-mailed my mother before the start of Friday night’s game against the Seattle Storm. “Are you ready for our third game against the Storm?” I wrote. “First game we only played for the first 32 minutes and in the second game we only played the last 8 minutes. Maybe this time we’ll make it a full forty.” It was a longer version of my tweet to start the game. I hadn’t anticipated that the reverse would be true and we would just play for no minutes this time. The bad part is that if we just erased the first quarter, we still would have lost, but not taken the 82-60 drubbing we took. But the first quarter set the tone for the game and we never recovered.
Right now, the Storm have the best record in the League at 9-1, and I can’t take anything away from them -- they are a pretty team to watch. Sue Bird had 13 points and five assists and shot just over 50% from the field. Four of their starters were in double figures and all of the players who had more playing time than just the final couple of minutes scored. They outshot us, out-rebounded us (on both ends of the court) and took better care of the ball (committing 12 turnovers to our 19.) They stole the ball from us 13 times (and Camille Little, with five steals, equaled our entire team.) They shot better overall, in the paint, from the free throw line and from three-point range. It was an old-fashioned blow-out.
There were a few bright spots for our team. Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton was perfect from the field, going 4-4, leading our bench scoring effort. We played a solid second quarter, with more assists than turnovers and outrebounding the Storm for those 10 minutes. But overall, it was an ugly game.
I will admit that coming off our win against Phoenix on Tuesday, I was expecting more than I got last night. It is always a battle against Seattle, especially in Key Arena, where the Storm have loud and passionate fans, and maybe it was too much to expect a win, but I always think our team can win against anyone. Friday night they definitely proved me wrong. We came out tentative, committing four turnovers before the clock had run off three minutes. The Storm took advantage and went on an 8-2 run to open the game. We settled down a bit after a timeout, but then the Storm attacked again, spending the last four minutes of the quarter on a 14-2 run, finally ending the first quarter up by 13. For the rest of the game, we never cut the Storm lead below 11. For all intents and purposes, the game was over in the first 10 minutes.
In our first nine games of the season, we have played the Storm three times and the Phoenix Mercury three times. All I can say now is that it will be good to finally see what the rest of the League looks like. At noon on Sunday, we will be back at home at Staples Center playing the Minnesota Lynx, a team we have also already faced this season (and beaten). I’ve decided it is best just to look forward to that game rather than reflect further on the past.
-- Kathy Goodman, co-owner of the L.A. Sparks