Seattle Storm Have A Different Mentality
The post-Olympic Seattle Storm are a force to be reckoned with.
Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm won the WNBA’s Player of the Week Award. The forward for the Storm has been the central player in a surge that has seen Seattle clinch a playoff spot. However, this Storm team doesn’t look like one that will merely limp into the post-season, rather they could get in both as a middle seed and as a force to be reckoned with.
The Storm are 6-2 following the end of the Olympic break, the best record among any team post-Olympics in the women’s association. Furthermore, the Storm’s winning ways are not merely due to a weak schedule. The Storm recently defeated Atlanta in Atlanta and Seattle also beat New York in New York. Less recently, Seattle defeated the Los Angeles Sparks, although that was a game that the Storm hosted.
Stewart seems to attribute their winning ways to a change in “mentality.”
“Coming back from Rio, Sue and I were able to sense it, that the team was a little bit different,” Stewart said on Tuesday. “People’s mentality was different — more confidence.”
Stewart winning the Player of the Week Award will not likely reinvigorate her chances of winning the WNBA’s MVP award. Brian Kotloff, writing at the WNBA.com, suggested that we’re only dealing with a “two-horse race” for the MVP at this point involving both Nneka Ogwumike and Tina Charles.
However, the race for the WNBA title will soon be an eight-horse race. If Seattle can win their last two regular-season games then the Storm might be looking at hosting a first-round playoff game. This is a team that remains dangerous as their rookie forward peaks alongside greater teammate confidence.
Next up for Seattle is a Thursday-night affair in Phoenix where the Storm will face the Mercury (10pm ET). Seattle will then host the final game of the regular season against the Chicago Sky on Sunday (7pm ET).
Playing in the final game of the season is actually a teeny-weeny advantage. If Seattle enter the game with a playoff seeding that cannot be changed, then head coach Jenny Boucek can manage the playing time of their best players accordingly. In short, having the information of how the other games go helps a bit.
My thinking on Seattle is that more emphasis should be placed on their post-Olympic results than their pre-Olympic results. Accordingly, they should be dangerous against any team they face.