Weakening Storm look to end skid at resurgent Sun (Aug 7, 2017)
Way back near the beginning of the WNBA season, the Seattle Storm were 4-1 and on the way to what looked like a run to the postseason.
At about the same time, the Connecticut Sun were starting the season with four straight losses and five in the first six games, en route to what was supposed to be a step in a rebuilding process.
How times have changed for both teams as they meet at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Tuesday night in Uncasville, Conn.
The Storm, led by former University of Connecticut stars Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, have gone 6-14 since that start and have also lost the first three of a five-game road trip. They are 2-9 on the road this season.
The Sun, on the other hand, have gone 14-4 since their start and have won five straight and eight of their last nine at home -- capped by a 93-92 win behind Jonquel Jones' fourth straight double-double (19 points, 15 rebounds) in a tight win over the Phoenix Mercury.
"Got the dub again tonight," Jones, the league's leading rebounder, said on her Twitter account. "Nothing's more fun than playing with a true team! Love my sisters."
The only home loss in the last nine for Connecticut was against the Storm.
The Sun (15-9) are the leaders of the Eastern Conference and third in what really matters, the overall league standings that determine playoff matchups.
The Storm, on the other hand, are fighting for their playoff lives.
Seattle comes into this game tied with the Atlanta Dream for the final playoff spot, just a half-game ahead of the Chicago Sky.
None of this is Stewart's fault. In fact, she comes into this game tied with fellow UConn great Diana Taurasi, who scored 33 points Sunday in her most recent return to Connecticut, for the league record of 12 straight games with at least 20 points. Taurasi set that mark in 2006 and Stewart, currently second in the league in scoring and sixth in rebounding, can snap it Tuesday.
The teams have split a pair of games this season, each winning on the other's home floor, where the Sun have won three straight on a five-game homestand coming out of the All-Star break.
The Storm missed the playoffs in 2014 and '15 and lost in the first round last year. They have not finished over .500 since 2011.
Before the trip, which included back-to-back games within 24 hours in Texas, general manager Alisha Valavanis told Summit Hoops, "I am working closely with our head coach (Jenny Boucek) on how we can recalibrate, how we can do everything possible to make a playoff run."
Tuesday's game will be the 14th of 20 WNBA games this season to be televised live via Twitter.