If someone gave you only these facts _ the Seattle Storm had five players score in double figures but still lost _ you would almost certainly guess correctly, “Well, the Storm must have been playing Phoenix.”
Such was the case Wednesday night, when the Mercury and the Storm met up in Arizona in one of those games that makes it worthwhile for you to sit in front of your laptop for a couple of hours to watch. The Merc won 93-81, and there’s not time during this particular matchup when you’re not aware how much star power is on the court.
And by “star” we mean “star,” not just terrific player. Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter, Seattle’s Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird and Swin Cash. And yes, we’re heavy on the UConn/Big East connection here, but that’s part of it. These players have been in the spotlight for a long time.
You also add the factor of the friendship between Bird, Taurasi and Jackson, their time spent overseas as teammates, and Jackson’s dalliance with leaving Seattle for Phoenix as a free agent.
And toss in one of the league’s more impressive rookies – Phoenix’s DeWanna Bonner _ and the veteran player whom she can model her game after – the Mercury’s Tangela Smith – and a fiery player who brings and “edge” to the Storm – Tanisha Wright. There are some WNBA matchups that just don’t quite grab you the same way Seattle-Phoenix does.
The Mercury and the Storm are both chasing the Lynx in the Western Conference standings … wait. Yes, let’s say that again: they’re chasing the LYNX … with Minnesota at 7-3, Phoenix at 7-4 and Seattle at 6-4. Tonight against Sacramento, Minnesota will try to extend its first-place lead and the Monarchs’ misery.
Meanwhile, I’m hitting the road for Indianapolis, where the first-place Fever meet Connecticut. Might see a little star power there, too.