Will coaching change inspire a playoff push from Seattle?


This was supposed to be a season of celebration and some big hopes being realized for the Seattle Storm. But while a great crowd showed up for an entertaining and well-executed All-Star Game experience at KeyArena in July, success on the court hasn't matched that standard.
The Storm, despite having two No. 1 picks in the past three seasons -- Jewell Loyd in 2015 and Breanna Stewart in 2016 -- are 10-16 and in danger of missing the playoffs. They have lost four games in a row, and haven't had consecutive victories since winning four straight in May.
It is always hard to see someone lose a job, and there is no question Jenny Boucek put a lot into her many years with the Storm, as assistant coach and then head coach since 2015. But with Seattle needing a big push in the last three-plus weeks of the season to try to get a playoff berth, Storm management decided the team had to have a change.
Boucek was fired Thursday, finishing her tenure with the Storm at 36-58, and assistant Gary Kloppenburg takes over in an interim role. Kloppenburg has been in the WNBA a long time, mostly as an assistant. He started with the Storm in 2000, and also has worked with Phoenix, Indiana, the former Tulsa Shock -- where he was head coach for two seasons, going 20-48 before being let go -- and Los Angeles in the WNBA, and also had a stretch with the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats.