Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Seattle vs. Sacramento: Game Preview

Sacramento surprised me, and likely a few others, with their sharp play on opening day. Their defense was no surprise, as they shut down San Antonio's perimeter players, allowing 32.4% shooting and 21.1% from three point range. In fact, only young post Sophia Young was very effective going 10-18 in the game. Becky Hammon, who made a strong bid for MVP last season was held to 4-19 and 3-11 from three. She was not able to penetrate which is one of her strengths.

Sacramento also controlled the defensive boards, grabbing 63% of the available defense rebounds while corralling 50% of their own offensive rebounds.

What really made Sacramento work though, was their scoring. They got duble digit scoring from 4 players. In my season preview I asked who was going to score the points, and the answer was a little bit from everyone. The only player who played and failed to score was rookie A'Quonesia Franklin, but she provided in other ways with her serious hustle play off the bench producing two steals, two assists and a rebound. Adrian Williams-Strong also came up big with 13 points. Rookie Laura Harper was a surprise with 10 points and 5 rebounds, and Charel Allen hit her only shot of the game. Kim Smith came off the bench in the first half and immediately put the ball in the basket.

Their offense, however is not that potent, and Seattle has always been able to score points in bursts against Sacramento. Seattle's new defense should be able to shut down the Monarchs when they need to do so. Bird struggles agains Penicheiro, and Brunson is tough for LJ down low, but given Youngs production for San Antonio, I believe LJ will score points. I think there are enough scoring options on the Storm to find ways to put up points, and Griffith should wipe up the floor with whoever they match her up against. Brunson can't guard LJ and Yo at the same time.

Keys to the Game

  • Execution and focus.
  • Rebound and run to allow quick scores before Sacramento can set their defense.
  • Patience in the half court. Sacramento wants to force you into a bad shot with their "white line" defense that loads the ball side of the court. Keep swinging the ball and find opportunities to penetrate and collapse the defense.
  • Use your post players and get those offensive boards. Use the size advantage to control the offensive glass and get second chance points.


  • Trust your post defenders, the Monarchs don't have a true offensive threat down low.
  • Beware the perimeter shooters. Sacramento likes to trick you into doubling or collapsing to free Powell, Lawson and the rest of the shooters.
  • Use your size to keep Brunson off the offensive glass. They can't win if they don't rebound.

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