For the first time since early July, the Seattle Storm are back at .500.
To avoid dropping below that mark for the first time this year, they’ll need a win in their regular-season home finale on Sunday, after falling 89-70 to Connecticut on Tuesday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
While Seattle clinched a playoff spot over the weekend thanks to a New York Liberty loss, their spot in the standings — and a chance to host a loser-out home game — hangs in the balance with four games to play.
“We have to get back to a kind of cohesive offense and defense structure that allows the totality of who we are to come out,” said head coach Dan Hughes.
His team did itself no favors against the Sun, outscored 58-18 in the paint and 19-0 on the fast break, while turning the ball over 18 times.
“They were constantly into the gut of our defense,” Hughes said.
That wasn’t the case early, as the Storm jumped out to an early 12-6 lead, paced by seven quick points by Jewell Loyd, who finished with a team-high 18. But Connecticut responded with a 10-0 run out of a timeout, to take a four-point lead after 10 minutes.
The Sun stretched that lead to eight at halftime, before outscoring Seattle 27-13 in the third to all but put the game out of reach.
“We played downhill, got the ball into the paint and finished around the rim so I’m really proud of them that we were in attack mode tonight,” said Sun head coach Curt Miller. “We were aggressive and got them on their heels. We just kept waiting for their big runs because we know they’re capable, but we just held them at bay.”
Connecticut remains a game behind Washington for the top seed in the WNBA with the win, and put a game between the next three closest competitors (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Chicago), which all lost on Tuesday.
“It’s huge for us in the big picture,” Miller said.
And with four losses in their last five games, time is running out for the Storm to enter the postseason on an upswing.
Seattle dropped to the seventh seed, a half-game back of Minnesota and just a half-game ahead of Phoenix. Both the Lynx and Mercury won on Tuesday, with the former officially punching their postseason ticket.
“These teams are raising it a little bit because they’re playing for position and they’re playing for the playoffs,” Hughes said. “You’re getting a true look at veterans playing at a very high level. I think we come out with the right intent, but we are learning a hard lesson which is how strong we have to be in what we do with each other when teams like that raise it a notch.”
Seattle plays its last regular-season home game Sunday against the Dream, while the Sun wrap up their three-game road trip Friday in New York.
- Attendance: 6,258
- The Adelaide Lightning of Australia’s WNBL announced Monday that they have signed Crystal Langhorne for the 2019-20 season.
- Faces in the crowd: Ed Dickson of the Seattle Seahawks was on hand, and tossed t-shirts into the crowd during a fourth-quarter break.