Seattle Storm Playoff Preview
The Seattle Storm completed the roller coaster that was the 2012 regular season on Sunday with a convincing 71-57 victory over the Phoenix Mercury. Now the team will set its sights on the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx in the first round of the 2012 WNBA Playoffs.
The Storm finished the season with a 16-18 record, which was good enough to clinch its ninth consecutive playoff appearance, a feat that no other team in WNBA history has accomplished.
However, if the Storm want to make a run at its third title, it will have to jump a major hurdle right out of the gates.
The Lynx posted a WNBA-best 27-7 record this season, losing only one game at home (16-1). The Lynx were also the WNBA’s most high-powered offense, averaging 86 points per game. The Storm finished the season scoring 71.2 points per game, which was 11th in the league.
The two teams faced each other four times this season with the Lynx coming out on top in three of these matchups. The only time the Storm was able to take down the Lynx was on June 17, when the Storm handed the Lynx their first loss of the season after 10 straight wins.
During the other three meetings, the Lynx won by an average of 16.7 points per game.
On paper, the head-to-head matchup may seem lopsided. But before you pencil the Lynx into the Conference Finals, it is important to note the roster struggles the Storm faced this season. It wasn’t until the month of August that the team played with a lineup at full strength, and even then it was short-lived.
The Storm was without three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson in all four of games against Minnesota. Jackson, who missed the first 25 games of the season to be with the Australian Olympic Team, also missed time towards the end of the schedule with a nagging hamstring injury suffered training for the Olympics.
Sue Bird missed five games, due primarily to hip problems. The Storm lost all five of those games.
Heading into the postseason, the Storm has both Jackson and Bird back into the lineup and the only question mark appears to be Svetlana Abrosimova, who suffered a sprained wrist last week.
The Storm will enter the playoffs with a three-game winning streak and will look to carry that momentum into Minnesota on Friday for Game 1 of the best-of-three series at 6 p.m. Game 1 will be seen on ESPN2.
Game 2 will shift back to Seattle for a 6 p.m. start on Sunday seen on ESPN.
If necessary, the teams will head back to Minnesota for a third and deciding game to be played on Tuesday, Oct. 2 (time TBD).
Stay tuned for recaps of every game the Storm play in the 2012 playoffs.