The Seattle Storm will celebrate the career of retired star Lauren Jackson in a jersey retirement ceremony on Friday when it hosts the reeling Washington Mystics at Key Arena.
But the Storm can't allow themselves to get distracted by all the pomp and circumstance as they need to get back to winning after losing four of their five games.
Maybe the presence of Jackson, who led Seattle to a pair of NBA titles in her 12 seasons with the team, will help elevate the Storm's game. Seattle already features one of the league's top young players in rookie forward Breanna Stewart but has struggled this season, winning just seven times in 20 games and forging a 4-6 record at home.
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Seattle has had five days off after a 93-92 home loss to the Indiana Fever on Sunday. Stewart scored 32 points but the rest of starters combined for the same amount in a game that was the Storm's fourth in six days.
“We ran out of gas,” Seattle coach Jenny Boucek said. “We had four games in six nights in four cities and had a six-hour delay (July 9) where we didn't get in until 10 o'clock or so. It's a tough time for us.”
The Mystics (9-12) have endured a disastrous road trip, losing the first four games of a season-long five-game trip.
The latest was a 78-74 loss to Phoenix on Wednesday when Emma Meesseman (22 points) and Tayler Hill (17) combined to produce half of Washington's output.
Either Meesseman or Hill has been the Mystics leading scorer in 19 of their 21 games.
In the previous meeting, the Mystics stopped a 10-game losing streak in Seattle with an 84-82 victory on May 26. Meesseman had 19 points and 13 rebounds in Washington's first win in Seattle since July 13, 2005.