Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 7/26/12
Storm Finishes First Half of Season with Big Win in Phoenix

The Seattle Storm finished up its schedule before the Olympic break began on July 14 with two final games.

The first of these games came at home against the Atlanta Dream, where the Storm was without several key players up front.

Ann Wauters was once again sidelined with an Achilles injury, as was Tina Thompson, who missed her second consecutive game with the knee injury she suffered against L.A.

No Southern hospitality

The Dream jumped out to an early lead but the Storm stayed within striking distance throughout the entire first half, tying the game multiple times including late in the half at 27-all.

The Storm went into the locker room with a small deficit to overcome, trailing 36-32 at halftime. A disappointing start to the third quarter put the team into a hole they never managed to crawl out of.

It took the Storm until the 4:17 mark of the third quarter to score its first points of the half, and by that point the team trailed by 10 points.

The Storm pulled within five points early in the fourth quarter but would get no closer as the Dream went on to defeat the Storm by a 70-59 score.

The Storm then traveled to Phoenix to play its last game before the break, looking to go into the Olympic break on a strong note.

Off to Phoenix

The team got a big boost from veteran guard Katie Smith, who scored 14 points in the first quarter alone to lift the team to an early lead.

The Storm built a lead as big as 13 points in the second quarter before a late first-half push by the Mercury brought Phoenix within four points of the Storm at halftime.

Storm fans await the return of Lauren Jackson in the second half of the season.

Smith nailed a three-pointer early in the second half and the Storm took off from there, outscoring the Mercury 26-6 in the third quarter.

The Storm coasted home to earn a big 83-64 victory to once again bring the team within one game of that .500 mark that has eluded the team throughout the first half of the season.

Storm Sends Two Representatives to the Olympics

The Storm will not play again until Aug. 16 as the world prepares for the Summer Olympics in London, England, which open on Friday, July 27.

The Storm will have two representatives competing in these Olympics in Sue Bird for the United States and Lauren Jackson, who has yet to play in the WNBA this year, for Australia.

The United States and Australia are once again the two top ranked countries in the women’s basketball competition in the Olympics this year.

Storm fans will be watching intently as two of their own compete for the gold medal.

Looking Ahead to August

Storm fans have plenty to be excited about looking forward to the second half of the season.

The team, which was in the cellar at 1-7 to start the season, has now catapulted up the standings and power rankings, finishing the last 11 games with an 8-3 record.

As it stands right now, the Storm is holding onto that fourth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 9-10 record. However, the Storm is five games clear of the fifth-place Phoenix Mercury.

The Storm have also been bitten by the injury bug as of late, losing a few key players including Wauters and Thompson.

This month-long break will give those players a chance to rest up in hopes of returning to the lineup in August.

Also, the Storm is expecting the return of three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson after the Olympics, which will be sure to give the team a much-needed boost.

After playing the bulk of its road schedule in the first half of the season, the Storm will enjoy seven consecutive home games and 10 of the last 15 games at home.

With all the pieces in place, expectations are high that the Storm will be in the hunt for another Championship run.


© Ben Tole for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

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Post tags: 2012, 2012 WNBA, Brian Agler, Lauren Jackson, Seattle Storm, Seattle Storm Blogs, Storm, Storm Basketball, Storm Basketball blogs, Storm Blog, Storm headlines, Storm schedule, Sue Bird, Tina Thompson, WNBA, WNBA Blog, WNBA Blogs

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