Seattle has gone 3-8 in its last 11 games, but wins on Saturday and Tuesday could help turn things around after the break.
A little more than halfway through the WNBA regular season and with two games remaining before the All-Star break, coach Jenny Boucek had hoped the Storm would be a little more consistent by now.
But at 8-10, Seattle has been anything but consistent.
“If I’m grading, we’re probably at about a B-minus,” Boucek said. “It feels sometimes lower because maybe the expectations got a little too high.
Atlanta @ Seattle, 6 p.m., JOEtv
“We’re close to getting over the top to being a good team. … But the energy we need for the style that we play has not been consistent. When we do it, we’re fine. And when we don’t, we’re not a very good team.”
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At times, the offense has been dazzling and the defense surprising stout, which was the case early in the season when the Storm started 5-2 and rose to second place in the standings.
Since then, Seattle is 3-8, including seven defeats in games decided by 10 points or less.
The knee-jerk reaction to so many close losses, including Wednesday’s 83-79 setback to Connecticut, is believing the Storm lacks the ability to close out games.
“Execution down the stretch,” second-year forward Breanna Stewart said. “That’s how you win close games. … And I put that on me, not anybody else.
“In that last game, regardless of the calls that you do or don’t get, I had a chances to come through at the end and I didn’t get it done. And I have to get better doing that.”
The immediate goal is avenging a loss at home early in the season to Atlanta (8-9), which returns to KeyArena on Saturday.
If the Storm can topple the Dream and knock off Chicago (5-12) on Tuesday, then it climbs back to .500 for the first time since June 23.
“We have two games left before All-Star break and they’re at home,” Stewart said. “So we need to take advantage of that. Then the All-Star (game) happens. Everybody gets a little break away from basketball. Breathe. Do a little woosah or whatever just to get this first half out of our system.
“If we can be 10-10 going into the All-Star break, it’s like we start over. We have those 14 games to really get it together.”
Last year, Seattle entered the Olympics break 9-15 before closing out the regular season with a 7-3 run that gave the Storm its first postseason berth since 2013.
“We know we can do it because we did it before,” Stewart said. “Contrary to what the record says, we’re not playing bad basketball. We’re just not winning close games, but something has got to break.
“With (the WNBA), everybody goes through a lull at some point and time during the season, and hopefully ours is over.”