Storm tries to bounce back against Liberty (Jun 10, 2017)
In sports, it's usually best to have a short memory and not dwell on costly mistakes that result in a loss. But sometimes the revenge factor -- remembering the sting from a loss -- can be the difference between winning and losing.
When Seattle goes to New York for a 3 p.m. ET tipoff on Sunday at Madison Square Garden, players from both teams will have to figure out how to deal with memories from recent losses.
The Storm (5-3) fell apart Friday night, squandered a five-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and lost to the Indiana Fever. The Storm already had defeated the Fever twice this season.
Seattle shot 72 percent in the third quarter and then watched the Fever reel off 10 straight points to take control and earn the victory.
Storm point guard Sue Bird, who leads the league with 7.8 assists per game, sank two free throws at the 9:16 mark of the second quarter and moved into ninth place in the record books in all-time WNBA scoring. She finished with a season-high 11 points to go along with six assists.
"On this team, we have a lot of weapons," Bird told the Seattle Times before Friday's loss. "So for me as the point guard, I'm just trying to get everybody in the right spots and then make basketball plays. You just have to read what the defense gives you."
The Liberty (5-3) still feel the burn from an 87-81 loss on May 26 to the Storm in Seattle. New York led 63-53 with 1:48 left in the third quarter.
Then rookie Sami Whitcomb took over and scored 22 points on 6-for-8 shooting from 3-point range in under 15 minutes.
Whitcomb had played a total of nine minutes before her coming-out party in that win in May. On Sunday, she will be a marked woman.
"She's not getting the ball," New York small forward Shavonte Zellous told msgnetworks.com. "That's how close we're going to be on her."
Added Liberty guard Sugar Rodgers: "We scouted her. We didn't follow our game plan. I'm a shooter. And when a shooter gets it going, the rim gets big. She gets nothing if I can help it."
Since that loss, the Liberty have gone 3-1 and will be gunning for their fourth straight win on Sunday.
Tina Charles scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Liberty to a 76-61 home victory over Atlanta on Wednesday.
Rodgers scored 16 points, Zellous had 12 and Kiah Stokes pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds for the winners.
To avenge their loss to the Storm, the Liberty will have to keep not only Whitcomb in check, but also the one-two punch of Jewell Loyd (19.0 points per game) and Breanna Stewart (16.0).
Lloyd delivered 25 points in the loss to the Fever. Stewart chipped in 23 points and nine rebounds.