Analysis: After early playoff exit, right here’s a have a look at what labored and what didn’t for Storm
Before scattering to varied factors across the globe, the Storm gathered one final time Wednesday morning for exit conferences with coach Noelle Quinn.
The disappointment from a 97-92 loss to the Las Vegas Aces in Game 4 of the WNBA semifinals, which eradicated them from the playoffs, was nonetheless recent of their minds and can linger for days – if not weeks and months – in the course of the offseason.
“It hurts,” stated 35-year-old Briann January, who’s retiring from the WNBA. “It hurts a lot to end a season like that with a team that we have. But I’m still grateful for a season like this.”
Despite falling wanting their aim of capturing the Storm’s fifth WNBA championship, Quinn was considerably upbeat concerning the resiliency of a group that was besieged by COVID-related absences firstly of the season, which contributed to a 5-5 begin.
“It’s disappointing to not complete the ultimate goal, which is to win a championship,” she stated. “We did accomplish some optimistic issues. There’s some progress in lots of gamers. Numerous progress in me as a coach and as an individual. Trying to only concentrate on that and shut the guide on this chapter with our exit interviews. I’ll take a number of days off, (then) get my offseason preparation going and get again rolling with our prep for subsequent season.
In this primary of two season opinions, we check out two key acquisitions that went proper and flawed this season for the Storm.
Gabby Williams discovered a house
Admittedly, Williams was nearly accomplished with the WNBA following an unpleasant breakup with the Chicago Sky, a contract suspension that pressured her to overlook the 2021 season and a few trades that led her to the Storm in February.
“Not speaking of Seattle specifically, but overall my vision of me in in the WNBA really changed after my year here in Seattle,” she stated. “It was complicated in Chicago.
“Now after having this year and having so much fun in Seattle, getting to play the basketball I wanted to play, growing as a player and playing with amazing teammates in front of amazing fans and the staff – being taken care of the way I was – it did change my outlook on the W in general. And it is a league that I do wish to stay a part of, of course if I’m able to.”
It took a while, however Quinn discovered methods to finest make the most of Williams, a 5-11 ahead who is without doubt one of the league’s most athletic and versatile gamers. The Storm used her as a main defender and a secondary ball-handler who initiated the offense.
Williams offset her 25% three-point capturing with a career-high 111 assists, which ranked fourth amongst WNBA forwards behind Alyssa Thomas, Candace Parker and Emma Meeseman.
Among that quartet, Williams had the second fewest turnovers (52).
Williams’ 179 rebounds is third on the group and ranks second amongst WNBA gamers beneath 6 toes.
“Gabby is just scratching the surface,” guard Jewell Loyd stated final month after Williams related along with her on a behind-the-back cross for a layup throughout an 89-77 win in opposition to Minnesota. “When we get out in transition, it’s a problem.”
Still, Quinn delivered the very best endorsement of Williams when she included her together with Stewart, Loyd and Magbegor whereas speaking about Seattle’s core gamers who have to return subsequent season.
Tina Charles didn’t ship a championship
The Storm took a giant swing after they signed Charles, who negotiated a contract divorce from the Phoenix Mercury following a messy 6-10 begin.
Bringing within the 6-foot-4 heart who was the 2012 WNBA MVP, eight-time WNBA All-Star and one of many league’s all-time greats was presupposed to elevate the Storm’s title prospects.
In actuality, Seattle by no means bought any higher with Charles.
Before her arrival, the Storm had been 11-7 and fourth within the WNBA standings. During 18 video games with Charles, Seattle was 11-7 and completed 22-14 for the No. 4 seed within the playoffs.
In the postseason, the Storm went 3-3 and Charles was wildly inconsistent whereas making an affect rebounding, together with setting a Storm report with 18 boards in Game 1 of the semis.
But Charles additionally struggled along with her shot, notably on the free-throw line the place she was 4 of 14 within the postseason, together with two missed foul photographs within the last seconds of regulation that contributed to a heartbreaking extra time loss in Game 3.
And on Tuesday evening – the largest recreation of the season – Charles completed with two factors on 1-for-7 capturing in 23 minutes on Tuesday evening.
The Storm spoke glowingly about Charles, who was the one participant that opted out of media interviews Wednesday.
“I don’t think we get to the semis without her,” stated Sue Bird who helped recruit Charles to Seattle. “I don’t think we finish fourth without her. That is both a sign of her talent, but also a sign of to nobody’s fault (Mercedes Russell) not being able to play, you can’t go through a season with three post players. That’s just not a reality. That would have been really difficult. We would have been scrambling to figure things out for the remainder of the season. … To add a player of her caliber, it’s literally the only reason we got to where we got.”
Quinn stated: “I was appreciative of her professionalism and what she brought. Obviously, we didn’t finish the ultimate goal, which is to win a championship, but I thought she conducted herself in a positive manner throughout.”
The transfer adversely impacted promising third-year heart Ezi Magbegor who was averaging 12.6 factors, 5.8 rebounds, a league-leading 2.7 blocks and 30.3 minutes per recreation earlier than Charles’ arrival.
In the final 15 regular-season video games, Magbegor averaged 6.9 factors, 5.0 rebounds, 0.7 blocks and 19.4 minutes.
“I had to adjust to the bench role,” Magbegor stated.
“I feel like I could have done more for my team at times, especially towards the back end of the season,” stated Magbegor who had issue adjusting to the bench. “As a professional, you have to be quick to adjust to that role. That’s on me. Going forward, being able to adjust quicker.”
But when it mattered most, the Storm, which grew to become the primary group to start out 4 No. 1 general draft picks, wanted extra from its latest star.
“It’s disappointing when you stack a team like this and get two veteran seasoned players off of waivers, you expect to win,” stated heart Jantel Lavender, who additionally joined Seattle after negotiating a contract divorce from Indiana. “When you come together with a team that has so much talent, it’s a lot of work you have to do outside of being good basketball players. You got to really come together a little bit more. Sometimes, it gets overlooked with talent that you have to be together like all the time. This team came together so sporadically. I just think we didn’t have that a lot. And that matters in games like yesterday.”
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