Did you hear the Storm swept Phoenix to advance to the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2004? It’s true, making these gray skies in Seattle blue for those who follow the team. The others still hoping for a Washington football rival will have to wait another week — at least.
Seattle scored a franchise postseason-high 91 points in defeating the Mercury by seven. The Storm was down by 19 points, setting another franchise-high for a postseason comeback. Storm PG Sue Bird had the winning plays down the stretch, including the game-winning three-pointer.
“I just remember screaming real loud that my head started hurting,” said Storm F Camille Little of the play.
How did Phoenix build such a lead? Defense.
“They had to, that’s the only way they were going to have a chance in beating us,” said Storm PF Lauren Jackson, who was impressed by the Mercury’s change in characteristic.
“She was getting double teamed before she even touched it,” Storm PG Sue Bird said of the three-time MVP having to literally fight for her 20 points and eight rebounds. “I don’t know many players who get double teamed without the ball on the block.”
The Storm (4-0) said the sweep was crucial because a Game 3 at KeyArena would have been even tougher than Game 2, naturally. Now the team can relax after practice on Tuesday and watch Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, which will decide their opponent in Game 1 of the Finals at KeyArena.
As expected, the Storm really didn’t care whether No. 2 New York or No. 4 Atlanta won the series. Seattle swept both in two games during the regular season. The Dream took Game 1 of the best-of-three series, however. Game 2 is Tuesday in Atlanta.
Considering New York has health issues with its post lineup, you’d think the Liberty would be an easier matchup. But the Storm did need late rallies to win the regular-seasons games at home and on the road. Atlanta led the league in rebounding during the regular season and has a potent lineup, but the Storm used comebacks to win there, too.
“Both teams deserve to be there,” said Storm F Swin Cash, who scored 12 of her team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter on Sunday. She is pictured right by The Associated Press. “Hopefully it’ll be a good series for the fans to watch and it’ll go three (games, ending Thursday).
“We’re a veteran team, we understand how to prepare. Some people are banged up, so the rest is going to be good, and then the practice time of being able to watch the other teams play and see what they’re doing – strengths and weaknesses. It’s a lot of scouting time.”
F Le’coe Willingham sprained her right ankle in the third quarter against Phoenix. The ankle looked gnarly via pictures taken by teammates, but Willingham was able to hobble on her own to return to Seattle.
“I’ve got a week to get right, I’ll be fine,” she said.
You can click here for ticket information. Game 1 is Sunday at KeyArena at noon.