Seattle, Wash. – Fifteen lead changes.
But the number that will stand out to the Seattle Storm from Thursday night is seven.
Nursing a two-point lead with 1:17 to play against Dallas — after a pair of free-throws by Crystal Langhorne — the Wings scored the game’s final seven points en route to an 83-78 victory at Key Arena.
Jewell Loyd led all scorers with 24 points, while Breanna Stewart chipped in 17. Aerial Powers had 19 to lead the Wings, while Courtney Paris had 12 and 12 rebounds, for her first double-double since the team’s last match up with Seattle on June 16.
“We were a little stagnant toward the end,” Loyd said. “But they just made one more play than we did.”
Throughout the night, neither team was able to pull away after each side went on a pair of early runs. After Seattle (6-10) scored the game’s first five points, and Dallas (8-9) went on a 10-0 run thereafter, before the Storm answered with an 8-1 stretch of its own to take what would be its largest lead of the night.
From that point on, both sides battled back and forth with similar shooting performances (each finishing the night just over 40 percent), but the Wings relied heavily on the 3-pointer in the first half, going 8-for-13 from behind the arc.
And when Dallas proceeded to cool down from deep (making just three in the final 20 minutes), they made up for it in the paint. After being out-rebounded by Seattle 18-to-16 in the first half, the Wings sported a plus-10 advantage by the end of the night. That advantage in the post in the second half is one Storm head coach Jenny Boucek attributed at least partially to fatigue.
“They might have worn us a little bit, that’s what they do,” she said. “They do it to everybody.”
Both aspects loomed large in the game’s closing moments.
After the Langhorne free throws, Aerial Powers hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with just over 50 seconds to go.
“That’s a shot we’ll live with,” Loyd said.
Both teams then traded misses, with Alysha Clark grabbing a rebound with 18 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Loyd drove to the basket and was stripped, with the Dallas getting the ball after a lengthy review found the ball bounced off her leg before rolling out of bounds.
Odyssey Sims hit two free throws — her first of the night — to extend the Dallas lead to three.
But on the other end, Stewart was ruled out of bounds after catching a pass in the corner, beyond the 3-point arc. Two free throws from Skylar Diggins finished the night.
“We had some good looks at the basket, and then some things didn’t go our way … This was a win we wanted to get, and wanted to finish our home stretch, so this stinks a little bit, but we have a road trip coming up that we have to focus on.”
That was a sentiment echoed by Loyd.
“Our team is very motivated, win or lose we still want to get better every single time, and that’s something that we really focus on, so for us, go back to the drawing board and just really come out and compete in practice, and hopefully that carries over into the games.”
Seattle now embarks on a three-game road swing, starting with a matchup against Atlanta on Tuesday night.
- For the second straight game, Seattle received hardly any help on offense from its bench. Ramu Tokashiki, Noelle Quinn, and Krystal Thomas combined for eight of the Storm’s 78 points.
- Abby Bishop returned to Seattle on Thursday after being cut by the Australian National Team in the lead up to the Olympics. But she, along with Jenna O’Hea and Monica Wright, did not play. Brianna Kiesel was the lone player to not see the floor for Atlanta.
- Jewell Loyd and Aerial Powers were assessed a double technical for an incident early in the third quarter. Loyd: “I don’t like people in my personal space.”
- Points in the Paint: Storm 36, Wings 20
- 2nd Chance Points: Wings 16, Storm
- Fast Break Points: Storm 10, Wings 8
- Attendance: 5,365