8:00 PM ET, June 9, 2012
Not having their best player available has the Seattle Storm on the verge of the worst start in franchise history.A meeting with a San Antonio Silver Stars team it has dominated over the last few seasons could help Seattle avoid that dubious mark Saturday night.The Storm are missing the services of Lauren Jackson as she continues to train in Australia for the London Olympics. Minus the three-time WNBA MVP and two-time league champion, Seattle has lost five of its first six to match the worst start in club history, set during the Storm's inaugural season of 2000.Seattle's only win this year has come against lowly Tulsa, 76-58 on June 1, and the Storm fell to 0-2 on their season-high five-game road trip after Wednesday's 79-55 loss to unbeaten Minnesota."We're pretty familiar with not having our best player," Seattle coach Brian Agler said. "We don't really talk about it at all. I look at it as an opportunity for some other players to step up."Point guard Sue Bird, leading the Storm with 11.8 points per game, failed to do so against the defending champion Lynx. She matched season lows with five points and three assists while shooting 2 for 9 overall and 1 for 6 from 3-point range."Sometimes you learn more when you lose," Bird said. "Unfortunately we've been doing a lot of that, so hopefully we're learning from this and we'll be able to turn it around."Facing San Antonio may give Seattle that opportunity. The Storm lost the first meeting between the teams last season before winning the last four by an average of 12.5 points, and they've taken 10 of the last 11 matchups.The Silver Stars, who started 7-1 last season, fell to 2-4 on Friday night with a 60-57 defeat at Atlanta. They got held to 12 points in the fourth quarter, finished with their lowest point total of the season, and completed a winless two-game road trip.San Antonio had a chance to tie Friday's game in the final seconds, but guard Becky Hammon dribbled inside the 3-point line and threw a bad pass to Shenise Johnson as time expired."Offensively, we were not clicking on all cylinders that we needed to," Hammon said. "Hopefully we can go back and learn from this. We have another one (Saturday), so we've got to put this behind us."Sophia Young scored 21 points on 9-of-19 shooting, but the rest of the Silver Stars made only 34.9 percent of their field-goal attempts and San Antonio's other four starters combined for 16 points.Hammon, who leads San Antonio with 15.5 points per game, finished with seven for the second straight game after a 30-point performance in an 85-66 home win over Phoenix on June 1.