An improved defense has helped key the San Antonio Stars’ recent turnaround.
They’ll look to extend the struggles of the WNBA’s worst offense Friday night when they host the Seattle Storm.
The Stars (11-9) have won four of five while limiting opponents to 72.6 points per game. They had allowed an average of 79.9 points during a 7-8 start.
San Antonio started Wednesday’s 80-66 home win over New York with a 14-0 run as the Liberty missed their first 12 shots. New York was held to 38.3 percent shooting for the game and committed 15 turnovers.
Kayla McBride matched her career high with 30 points.
"The real story is defensively for us right now," coach Dan Hughes said. "What a difference it makes on this basketball team when we defend.”
Jayne Appel blocked one shot but Hughes credited her with altering many other New York shots.
"Jayne Appel doesn’t get a lot of credit in a lot of situations," Hughes said. "She does so many things that we appreciate, (like) her ability to kind of anchor our defense inside. For a player that scored only two points, she gets nine boards and she to me is one of the best defensive players in the league."
Danielle Robinson and Jia Perkins rank among the league’s top 10 in steals with 2.1 and 1.9 per game, respectively.
The Storm (8-13) own the West’s worst road record at 3-10 and they’ve dropped three straight away from home.
Seattle averages a league-low 70.2 points and struggled offensively in a 78-58 loss at Phoenix on Wednesday. The Storm went seven minutes without a basket during a 19-0 second-quarter run in which they were outscored 21-4.
Coach Brian Agler’s frustration led a technical foul in the second quarter after he argued with an official. Seattle trailed by 17 at halftime after committing 12 turnovers.
The team’s top two scorers – Camille Little and Crystal Langhorne – were held to a combined 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
"They started forcing us to get turnovers, we didn’t execute and turned the ball over and when a team is that talented offensively, you can’t let them get in transition," Langhorne said.
Little is 10 for 26 over her last three games.
The road team has won each of the previous two meetings, and McBride has totaled only 12 points on 4-for-15 shooting.