The Storm suffered a rare defeat against the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday night. The team had been on a roll before faltering in the fourth quarter and losing 85-77.
Coach Noelle Quinn said, “Not the effort that we needed to win against a club that played hard.” Just didn’t execute properly on both ends of the floor and didn’t sustain.”
But Seattle wasn’t completely let down by the day.
Tina Charles and the Phoenix Mercury mutually agreed to part ways hours prior to the game, and the eight-time WNBA All-Star is allegedly close to signing a contract with the Seattle Storm.
The 6-foot-4 center, who was the league’s top scorer a season ago, is a huge boost to the Storm’s chances of making the postseason.
Charles’ 16.2-game scoring and rebounding averages were just a little under her career norms.
The 11-year veteran, who has started each of her 373 career WNBA games since her first season with the Connecticut Sun in 2010, is expected to join Gabby Williams, Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd, and Breanna Stewart in the Storm starting lineup.
Given that center Mercedes Russell has missed 12 games due to a persistent headache, Seattle needs help in the frontcourt.
Seattle reduced its roster to 10 players on Friday by waiving forward Reshanda Gray, freeing up around $39,000 in salary-cap space.
Charles’ addition might help sideline young center Ezi Magbegor and provide a second unit that desperately needs a scoring boost and more firepower.
Quinn refuses to reveal whether the Storm has gotten in touch with Charles before the game on Saturday.
Quinn stated, “Our current focus is on the game, and my current focus is on the game. “I really have nothing to say about Tina,” I said.
Even yet, the Storm could have used Charles on Saturday to offset the Sparks’ advantage in rebounds (41-26).
Stewart noted that while we had 21, they had 31 defensive rebounds. And their shooting wasn’t spectacular. We ought to have received rebounds.
Los Angeles (7-10) had lost four of its previous five games, including one by a score of 23 points. Despite this, the Sparks, who were playing without guards Jordin Canada and Chennedy Carter due to non-COVID illnesses, kept Seattle on its toes the whole game.
Quinn stated, “You can’t be average and expect to win in this league. “No matter who you play against, players 1 through 12 are all skilled and pros. We must approach the situation with a sense of urgency and the knowledge that what the records say is irrelevant.
These groups are ravenous. They are fighting and having a good time, so we must act with the same sense of urgency.
The Sparks rebounded after the Storm took an early 12-point lead (19-7) and led 49-43 at the break.
The Storm were outscored 17-9 in the fourth quarter, which began with the score knotted at 68. Seattle made 4 of 16 attempts, but all seven three-point attempts in the period were missed, compared to Los Angeles’ 8 of 15 attempts and 0 of 4 attempts from beyond the arc.
Stewart, who finished with a game-high 28 points, noted that “basically, they were scoring and we were missing.”
On the other side, Nneka Ogwumike was unstoppable for the Storm. She finished with a team-high 24 points on 12-for-18 shooting, including eight in the fourth.
Quinn remarked, “Nine points is not enough for us to win. “I didn’t think we were being stopped, Nneka arrived at work and occasionally went alone. They ran the same play, and we were unable to stop them defensively so we could move on. I believe the shots we did attempt to make were hurried and contested.
When the Sparks went on a 10-2 run to end the game, the score was tied at 75. In order to stop the 9,955 spectators at Climate Pledge Arena from chanting “Beat LA,” Ogwumike forced in a driving layup over Stewart and Magbegor. This put the Sparks in the lead for good.
In addition, Seattle struggled to contain former Storm forwards Kristi Toliver (13 points), Brittney Sykes (15 points and 8 rebounds), and Katie Lou Samuelson (17 points) (11 points).
Williams added 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists, and Magbegor contributed 16 points, four rebounds, and three blocks for the Storm.
Even yet, Seattle was unable to overcome Loyd and Bird’s combined 3-for-17 shooting effort and their nine points.
Seattle (11-7) ranks fourth in the WNBA rankings at the halfway mark of the season, 212 games out of the top spot with 18 games remaining.
Quinn stated that the inconsistent play cannot continue at this juncture in the season. “Our goal is to complete the season, advance to the playoffs, and ultimately claim a championship.
“This is not how you play, go to work, or perform your duties. Not the one, this. We must constantly maintain an attitude of grit for ourselves and our team. Just reminding our group that it’s essential to do so every night.