Seattle pulls away in fourth for 83-69 win over Stars

Breanna Stewart gets past Dearica Hamby in the first quarter. Photo by Neil Enns/Storm Photos.
Breanna Stewart gets past Dearica Hamby in the first quarter. Photo by Neil Enns/Storm Photos.

Seattle, Wash. — On the first possession of Wednesday afternoon’s match up with the Stars, a Jewell Loyd three-pointer gave Seattle an early lead just 15 seconds in.

It was also their only lead, as the Storm led wire-to-wire in an 83-69 victory over San Antonio in front of a sellout “Kids Day” crowd of 9,686 at Key Arena.

Loyd led the way with 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting, with 13 coming in the first quarter, while Breanna Stewart followed close behind 22. Crystal Langhorne had a season-high 10 rebounds for Seattle (9-14). Moriah Jefferson had 25 points to pace San Antonio (5-18).

“For a team like San Antonio who has had some ups and downs — lost their best player to injury — you want to make sure you take care of business,” said Sue Bird, who flirted with a triple-double with eight points, eight assists, and six rebounds.

Seattle scored 10 of the game’s first 12 points, but San Antonio stayed within arm’s length throughout the game. After scoring 29 points in the first, Seattle had just seven in the second quarter, a season low. A 9-3 San Antonio run from the waning moments of the third and the start of the fourth quarter pulled the Stars within four, before Seattle pulled away with a 16-0 run of its own.

Stewart said her team really pushed the ball up the court in that game-sealing stretch, which took a four-point nailbiter into a 20-point cushion.

“Playing with our tempo, and that kind of thing,” she said, “[and] locking up defensively, not letting them do what they wanted.”

Stewart scored seven points in that span, while Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored five of her 10, marking her third straight game in double digits.

But while the offense came through late, ending the game at an even 50 percent from the field and 44 percent from behind the arc, head coach Jenny Boucek had praise for her team’s defense.

“We were solid defensively most of the game,” Boucek said. It took us a little while to break through offensively but we did break through and get our offense geared up the way we wanted it to look. In the fourth quarter we played with a little more like we had in the first half.”

With the victory, Seattle is now tied with Washington for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Storm play at Minnesota on Friday at 7 p.m. before the month-long Olympic break.

“We want to make sure that we finish things off before we go in different directions,” Stewart said.

Dribbles:

  • San Antonio was without Kayla McBride (fractured right foot), while Ramu Tokashiki was not with the Storm as she trains with Japanese National Team in advance of the Olympics.
  • All 11 players with the team saw the court for Seattle, including Monica Wright, who had only appeared once in the previous eight games for the team. Vicki Baugh was the lone DNP for San Antonio.
  • With the victory, Seattle wins the season series over the Stars. San Antonio won the first match up 77-70 on June 14, while Seattle took the second 78-68 on July 8.
  • Seattle is now 6-7 at home this season.
  • Attendance: 9,686. It was the second sellout in the last three home games for Seattle, the other being Friday’s retirement ceremony for Lauren Jackson.
  • Points in the Paint: Stars 30, Storm 24
  • Second Chance Points: Stars 10, Storm 2
  • Fast Break Points: Storm 19, Stars 7

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