Storm force OT with frantic fourth-quarter comeback, fall to Mystics

Breanna Stewart shoots a three-pointer over Stefanie Dolson to cut the Mystics lead to 83-82. Despite her great shot the Storm fell in overtime 84-82. Photo by Neil Enns/Storm Photos.
Breanna Stewart shoots a three-pointer over Stefanie Dolson to cut the Mystics lead to 83-82. Despite her great shot the Storm fell in overtime 84-82. Photo by Neil Enns/Storm Photos.

Seattle, Wash. – What a difference one quarter can make.

With 3:24 to go in the third quarter, a 3-pointer from Tayler Hill gave the Washington Mystics a 16-point lead against the Seattle Storm on Thursday night at KeyArena.

With 7.8 seconds in the fourth, a lay-in by Jewell Loyd tied it at 71 to send the game to overtime.

Despite that frantic comeback, and a fourth quarter that saw the Storm shoot 66 percent from the field, Washington outscored Seattle 13-11 in the bonus period to hand Seattle its third loss of the season, 84-82.

Breanna Stewart led the way for Seattle with a game-high 25 points, as one of four Storm players to finish in double-figures (Sue Bird had 15, Alysha Clark and Crystal Langhorne both had 10), while Emma Meesseman had a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Mystics.

Seattle was plagued by cold shooting from the start, going 3-for-its-first-10, while the Mystics started the night 8-for-12.

Over a two-minute span of game clock from the waning seconds of the first quarter to the 8-minute mark of the second, the Mystics went on a 12-0 run to open up an 11-point lead.

Washington was propelled in the first 10 minutes by Meesseman, who finished the quarter with nine points and seven rebounds.

Seattle cut that gap to three with 6:17 to play in the half, and that’s as close as the Storm would get until the closing moments of regulation.

Washington finished the half up seven, and extended its lead to 16 while Seattle made just one of its first 13 shots to the start the third.

Through three quarters, Seattle was shooting just 34 percent from the field.

“We did get good looks,” Bird said. “We just weren’t making them. With that, that’s when you have to have your defense to rely on. That’s when you can’t let teams go off the way they did early on, where hopefully if you’re not making your shots, you can still stay within 5-6 points, not let the lead balloon.”

In the final 10 minutes, Seattle’s defense did just that, and held the Mystics to 10 points, while going 8-of-12 from the field (2-for-3 from 3-point range) to close the gap and send the game to overtime.

“We played a little harder, got the 50-50 balls,” Loyd said of that final stretch. “We just competed at another level we weren’t at the whole game.”

Loyd hit a jump shot on the first possession of the extra period to give Seattle the lead, but the teams traded baskets, with the Storm trailing by two with seconds to play.

With the clock winding down, Ivory Latta missed a jump shot, and Bird tried to call timeout while falling out of bounds after grabbing the rebound.

“We had a moment when we were staring at each other, me and the ref, and he was like, ‘out of bounds.'”

Hill made a pair of free throws with 3.7 seconds to play, and while a Stewart 3-pointer cut the gap to one with just over a second left, it was too little too late.

“If we came out stronger, first and second quarter, things would have been a little different,” Stewart said. “We’re a young team, we’re still learning, and it’s just, we have to learn quickly.”

Coach Jenny Boucek her team is “having some periods where we just look unsure.”

“I think that’s somewhat to be expected with a new group together, but we need to try to minimize those,” she said.

Ultimately, Boucek said, there may have been a bit of a let down after the first three games.

“I think we played three of the top teams in the league, and had a little bit of a relaxation, and very subtle, and I thought that might have happened,” Boucek said. “Every team in this league is good, Washington is a playoff team, and they’re a very good team, and I think it took us a while to get to the level we needed to get too. Hopefully we’ll learn from that, that you must respect every team, every player in this league. I don’t think it was conscious, I don’t think it was major, but it was subtle enough to get us in a hole.”

Seattle is back at KeyArena on Saturday for a 7 p.m. match up with Connecticut.

Dribbles:

  • Blake Dietrick has yet to play this season.
  • Abby Bishop was held out for the third straight game, while Monica Wright also did not see the floor for the second time in four games. “You can’t play a really deep rotation if you want to stay in a rhythm, especially when you’re a team trying to find a rhythm,” Boucek said. “Monica’s fine, different night’s it’s going to be different people with this team, in terms of our rotations.”
  • In her first action of the year, Jenna O’Hea had six points and three rebounds in 13 minutes.
  • Jewell Loyd’s nine points were a season-low.
  • Seattle was outrebounded by the Mystics 38-27 (32-21 on the defensive glass).
  • Attendance: 5,239

 

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