The Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart less era began Tuesday night at Climate Pledge Arena. What a difference a day makes, Twenty-four hours earlier the building was filled with 17 thousand screaming and hollering fans. Tuesday night crowd was just as loyal and had a touch of curiosity.
The Storm training camp roster has a total of 16 players. Of the 16 players returnees from last season were four-time All-Star Jewell Loyd, and 2022 All-Defensive Team pick Ezi Magbegor Merced Russell who returning from a headache illness that sideline her for the season.
With the past in the past, Quinn rolled out her new lineup of Kia Nurse, Ezi Magbegor, Mercedes Russell, Yvonne Turner and Jewel Loyd.
The group bolted out to a 10-0 run before the Mercury got on the board with Dian Taurasi’s three-pointer at the 7:23 mark. The Mercury was without Brittaney Griner and Skylar Diggins. Brianna Turner, Megan Gustafson, Brianna Turner and Sophie Cunningham joined Taurasi as the starting five for the Mercury. Both sides showed signs of rust due to a lack of execution and in the Storm’s case a lack of familiarity. The Mercury cut the Storm’s lead to three points halfway thru the second quarter but never were able to close the gap. The Storm went into the halftime break with a 43 to 35 lead.
BIG THIRD QUARTER
The Storm struggled in the third quarter and the Mercury took advantage. The visitors outscored the home side 24-14 and took a 60 to 55 lead to end the quarter.
Multiple substitutions by both coaches made for a choppy offensive fourth quarter. Players gave it their best effort, but the lack of familiarity made it difficult to execute on the offensive side of the court. With the emphasis being on understanding systems, concepts, and execution with different line up the score did not matter in the end for Storm Coach Noelle Quinn.
Rookies Jordan Horston and Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu were impressive in their WNBA debut. Fankam Menddjiadeu nearly recorded a double, double. She pulled down nine rebounds and scored a team-high 10pts. Horston had five points, and two assists in 12 minutes. For both the game was a learning experience to grow from.