Storm-Mystics Preview


With one star recovering from injury and another retired, the Seattle Storm acquired Crystal Langhorne from the Washington Mystics to try to help fill the void.

The two-time All-Star, however, hasn't kept the Storm from closing in on one of the worst starts in franchise history.

When she returns to Washington on Saturday night, Langhorne will look to help her team avoid falling to 0-4 for the first time since its inaugural season.

Seattle continues to play without three-time MVP Lauren Jackson, who is recovering from knee and Achilles tendon surgery. That has magnified the absence of the retired Tina Thompson, the league's all-time leading scorer.

Acquired from Washington on draft day April 14, Langhorne averaged 12.9 points and 7.1 rebounds in her six seasons with the Mystics but had gotten off to a slow start with the Storm. She averaged 7.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in the first two games before an improved performance Friday at Connecticut, as she scored 15 points to go with seven rebounds, but none of her teammates reached double figures in a 71-59 loss.

Seattle shot 37.3 percent and has lost all three games by double digits.

The Storm started 0-4 in 2000 en route to a league-worst 6-26 finish.

The Mystics bounced back from an 89-77 defeat to defending champion Minnesota in the season opener May 16 by winning 79-63 at Indiana on Friday.

Bria Hartley, part of the trade for Langhorne, led the way with 15 points and added five assists in her first career start. She had four points and shot 1 of 5 while recording four assists and three turnovers in 18 minutes against Minnesota.

Hartley replaced Ivory Latta in the starting lineup. Latta had made 35 consecutive starts since joining the Mystics (1-1) at the beginning of last season, but scored 25 points and made a career-best seven 3-pointers against the Lynx.

"She has been playing great, she has been good," coach Mike Thibault said of Hartley. "Between her, Kara (Lawson) and Ivory we can rotate three pretty good guards."

Seattle coach Brian Agler is well aware of that fact, and he'd like to prevent a repeat performance by Latta.

"You want to take the 3-point shot opportunity away," he told the team's official website. "There's no question that (Latta) will be the shooter and they'll put her in a lot of pick and rolls so we want to shorten those."

The Mystics and Storm split two meetings in 2013 with each winning at home. Langhorne averaged a team-best 17.5 points and 6.0 rebounds for Washington in those games.

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