Since the end of the 2011 season, the Seattle Storm has been over .500 for approximately one week.
There were three days in 2013, one after beating San Antonio to improve to 4-3 before dropping a game in Tulsa the following night, and a couple more after defeating the Sun in late August to move to 15-14, only to lose in Minnesota two nights later.
Seattle started the 2015 season 1-0, winning its season opener over Los Angeles before dropping the next two games.
That was it, until Sunday. And this year’s team has aspirations to stay above that mark for the foreseeable future.
Paced by Jewell Loyd’s 26 points — her third straight 25-plus-point performance to start the year — and Crystal Langhorne’s 17 on 6-of-9 shooting, the Storm improved to 2-1 with a 81-71 win over the Mystics at KeyArena.
Elena Delle Donne led Washington with 14 points, while Tayler Hall had 13 for the Mystics. In her 2017 debut, Sue Bird had nine points and 10 assists in her return to the Seattle lineup.
The Storm started Sunday’s game by making its first three shots, en route to a season-high 29 first quarter points on 11-of-15 shooting, and a six-point lead after 10 minutes.
“It all started with that first quarter and letting them score 29 points and kind of letting them do whatever they wanted to do,” Delle Donne said after the game.
Washington used a 12-4 in the second — while holding Seattle to just two field goals in the first six minutes of the quarter — to take a two-point lead, but the Storm would take a 44-41 advantage into the break.
The teams traded baskets for much of the third, before a 13-0 Seattle run over the final three-plus minutes of the quarter gave the Storm a lead that would remain in double digits the rest of the night.
“It was just a matter of our defense,” Hill said. “We’re not too concerned about what other teams can do on offense because everybody in the league is good on offense – it’s about who’s going to get stops.”
Seattle led by as many as 19 in the final period, before the Mystics closed the game with an 11-2 run.
Though it was Loyd who led Seattle in scoring for the third straight game, she credited the return of her backcourt partner Bird for the team’s strong outing.
“Sue does a great job facilitating,” Loyd said. “Everyone has higher confidence when she’s on the floor. I tried to stay light on my feet, knock down shots and play good defense. I haven’t felt like this since high school. I feel good right now. My teammates do a great job of screening and talking to me on the floor and encouraging me. They make me look a lot better than I am, trust me.”
But head coach Jenny Boucek had high praise for the third-year guard out of Notre Dame.
“She has always been capable of exploding,” she said. “The biggest difference is you’re seeing is consistency in her play. She’s consistent right now and we’re hoping that means she’s turned a corner. She’s playing at a really good pace right now with really good understanding. I’m hopeful that’s turned a corner in some big ways.”
Next up for the Storm is a matchup with the New York Liberty on Friday night at KeyArena. A win would bring Seattle to two games over .500 for the first time since 2011.
- With a basket in the waning moments of the third quarter, Jewell Loyd reach the 1,000-point mark for her career.
- Points in the Paint: Storm 28, Mystics 16
- Second Chance Points: Mystics 15, Storm 11
- Fast Break Points: Storm 12, Mystics 4
- Attendance: 6,088