The Seattle Storm defeated the Phoenix Mercury 71-57 on Sunday, September 23, ending their regular season with a momentum-building three-game winning streak. The momentum will carry the Storm into the first round of the playoffs, where they will face off against the top-seeded Minnesota Lynx in a best of three series beginning Friday, September 28.
After a sluggish start by the Storm allowed the Mercury to take a nine-point lead in the first quarter, the Storm hit their stride in the second quarter and never looked back. Camille Little scored 14 points and eight rebounds to lead the Storm. Sue Bird added 13 points. Katie Smith and Shekinna Stricklen added 10 points each.
As the Storm have suffered from late-season injuries, head coach Brian Agler made a point to ease up on playing time to give key players a chance to rest up before taking on the Lynx. Tanisha Wright did not play. Bird played 19 minutes while Lauren Jackson played just 12 minutes in the game.
The Mercury ended their worst ever regular season by losing seven games in a row. They failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Storm Get Ready to Face Lynx
The Lynx are the defending WNBA champions and have maintained their position as the top-seeded team in the league. They suffered a brutal 84-99 loss to the San Antonio Silver Stars in their final regular season game.
Although the Lynx have a far stronger record than the Storm, the Storm were without Jackson for the first half of the season and dealt with some injuries in the second half of the season. If the Storm are able to stay healthy, they will be tough to beat. They handed the Lynx their first loss of the regular season, a feat they accomplished without Jackson.
The Storm have experienced veterans with unmatched championship experience. We have yet to see the Storm perform at their full capacity. On the other hand, the Lynx are the defending champions and hold the best record in the WNBA. No matter what happens in the series, it will be an exciting one to watch.
Anne Bucher has been a devoted follower of the WNBA since its inception in 1997. A Texas native, she cheered the Houston Comets on to their four consecutive championship titles. Now she lives in the Northwest and roots for the Seattle Storm.
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