Seattle Storm weathering slow start as new players look for success after being ‘tested early’

0
16

NEW YORK (AP) — The Seattle Storm are a work in progress with Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith trying to get into a groove with Jewell Loyd.

The Storm are 1-3 on the season, but have had a difficult schedule with three of the four games on the road, including a back-to-back set against Washington and New York.

“It takes time. People see a roster and expect (success) right away,” said Ogwumike. “We’ve played together officially for a week and unofficially for three. It just takes time.”

It hasn’t helped that Ogwumike has missed the Storm’s last two games with an ankle injury. Although she is expected to back in the lineup soon, potentially Wednesday when Seattle hosts Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever.

Coach Noelle Quinn isn’t worried about the early stumbles.

“I want to use the first 10 games as a sample size at least,” she said before the loss to the New York Liberty on Monday night. “We’ve been battle tested early. Been on the road early. The vets are here and it’s going to take some time.”

The Storm can take page from the Liberty’s playbook last season. New York brought in Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones and Courtney Vandersloot and it took time for them to build their chemistry. New York eventually reached the WNBA Finals before losing to Las Vegas.

“I think from a coaching and competitive standpoint I don’t look at other teams,” Quinn said. “But you have to have reference points. They are a different team than us, but the reference point is that it took them a little bit of time to pick up. But what New York did was find ways to win.”

Seattle will get there. Besides putting the pieces together for the team, individually, Diggins-Smith is finding her footing again. She missed last season while she was on maternity leave after having her second child.

“I definitely don’t take it for granted,” she said. “It’s great to be back with this team and the support system they have.”

AP WNBA POLL

Las Vegas still leads the way with New York right behind the Aces once again. Connecticut and Minnesota were next. Phoenix and Dallas followed the Lynx. Chicago made the biggest jump, moving up four places to seventh after splitting a pair of games with the Wings. Atlanta and Seattle came next with the Storm falling five spots to ninth. Los Angeles, Indiana and Washington rounded out the poll.

CAITLIN CORNER

Caitlin Clark is still looking for her first WNBA victory, but the No. 1 pick in the draft has looked more comfortable each game. She has averaged 17 points, 5.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds in the four games. Clark is shooting 41.2% from the field while only taking about 13 shots a game.

She’s faced New York and Connecticut twice and looked better in the second matchup each time. Clark did have a scare on Monday night when she turned her ankle in the first half against the Sun. She returned in the second half to almost rally the team to its first victory. The Fever now head out west for a three-game road swing in Seattle, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

ROOKIE WATCH

While Clark garnered most of the headlines in her first week in the WNBA. Other rookies had solid starts as well. Angel Reese averaged 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in her first two games. She will definitely improve on her 34.8% shooting from the field. Cameron Brink averaged seven points, five rebounds and 3.5 blocks while facing two really good centers in Tina Charles and A’ja Wilson.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Alyssa Thomas had a strong week averaging 16.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 9.3 assists to help the Connecticut Sun get off to a 3-0 start. Other players receiving votes included A’ja Wilson of Las Vegas and Napheesa Collier of Minnesota.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Connecticut at Chicago, Saturday. After starting the season with three straight road games, rookie Angel Reese gets to play at home for the first time in her career. The Sky are still missing fellow rookie Kamilla Cardoso, who injured her shoulder in the preseason.

___

AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

Source: post