What can the Storm learn from their loss to the Fever?
Could a rare bit of adversity be just what Seattle needed?
Welcome to The Next: A basketball newsroom brought to you by The IX. 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage, written, edited and photographed by our young, diverse staff, dedicated to breaking news, analysis, historical deep dives and projections about the game we love.
Subscribe to make sure this vital work, creating a pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph the great game, continues and grows. Paid subscriptions include some exclusive content, but the reason for subscriptions is a simple one: making sure our writers and editors creating 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage get paid to do it.
Seattle Storm v Indiana FeverPALMETTO, FL - AUGUST 20: Breanna Stewart #30 of the Seattle Storm handles theball against the Indiana Fever on August 20, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Centerin Palmetto, Florida. (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
Maybe it was inevitable. Maybe it was the green jerseys.
While no one expected the Storm to win out, their 90-84 loss to the Indiana Fever on Thursday night snapped a nine-game winning streak. Jewell Loyd totaled a career-high 35 points on Thursday but the Storm trailed by as much as 14 points in the second half.
Their last and only loss until now was an 18-point defeat at the hands of the Washington Mystics. Like that Mystics game, the Storm struggled shooting against the Fever (23.3 percent from 3 on Thursday). Holding Breanna Stewart to 18 points on as many shots was a huge win for Indiana’s defense.
“We haven't really had a close game in a while. For us it's a wakeup call, knowing that we have come out ready to go no matter who we're playing. When things aren't going our way we have to find a toughness within ourselves to fight through,” said Loyd. “Sometimes our body language was kind of bad tonight, which we haven't seen in a while. For us, just looking in the mirror, trying to find that inner dog, hopefully, that comes out.”
However, if Seattle was going to drop one, this may have been an acceptable game to lose.
Sue Bird was a late scratch and with their contest against Las Vegas scheduled for Saturday, resting her on Thursday made sense. Vegas trails Seattle by one game in the standings. The fact the Storm weren’t at full strength makes this loss less worrisome. (Note: neither were the Fever.)
The Storm were also aided by the Aces losing to Chicago this week. Right now, the Storm have the same lead in the standings they did at the beginning of the week: one game.
"Losing tonight against Indiana, it's a lesson learned,” said Natasha Howard. “We need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what we need to better when we play Las Vegas so we don't make the same mistakes that we did tonight against Indiana."
Of course, this loss raises the stakes of their upcoming games. After the Aces on Saturday, the Storm face the Fever, Aces, and Chicago Sky, before facing the Aces again on August 27. The Sky are also still vying for playoff positioning and are in the mix with the Aces, Sparks, and Lynx.
As dominant as the Storm have been, there hasn’t been a lot of drama during their winning streak. Their loss to the Fever on Thursday adds intrigue to their remaining schedule given how tight the standings race is. The Storm are going to want to ensure they got this game out of their system before the weekend arrives.
After the Storm’s last loss, they responded by closing out a tight game against the Sparks. If history is any indicator, their defeat to the Fever will only help focus them for Saturday’s marquee matchup with the Aces.