Seattle – It was an all too familiar situation for the 2017 Seattle Storm.
A 19-point fourth quarter lead had been cut to nine in just over two minutes, with a comfortable edge suddenly much less so with five minutes to play.
“When they made that push in the fourth quarter we knew that was what teams do,” said Storm guard Sue Bird. “In the past we were almost surprised that teams didn’t just roll over and die. That’s not what the WNBA is.”
That was, however, as close as Dallas got, as Seattle responded with a 7-0 run to put the game away in a 109-93 victory over the Wings on Friday night at KeyArena.
All five Seattle starters finished in double figures, led by 27 points from Jewell Loyd – tying a season-high — and 20 from Breanna Stewart, who became the quickest WNBA player to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds for her career in the victory. Skylar Diggins-Smith had 18 to lead Dallas, and Glory Johnson added 16.
The Storm (10-12) jumped out to a 12-point lead after one quarter, paced by 10 of Crystal Langhorne’s 16 points on the night on 5-of-6 shooting. Seattle held that edge throughout the second, with Dallas (11-13) pulling only within eight before a 14-7 Storm run to the break put Seattle up 15.
The hosts finished the half shooting 68 percent from the field, en route to a season-best 60 points at halftime.
Both teams played a nearly even third quarter, with the Storm outscoring Dallas 26-25, and led by as many as 19 after a Sami Whitcomb three-pointer with seven minutes to play.
That’s when Dallas responded with it’s 10-0 run.
“We just needed to stop doing dumb things,” Stewart said. “Any team is going to do that. That stuff is going to happen. We responded well and that’s what it’s all about.”
Over the final five minutes, the Storm outscored Dallas 15-8 to seal the win.
It was that kind of night, according to Dallas head coach Fred Williams.
“I thought a few times when we got close to catching up with (Seattle) around nine points, 11 points … we made a bad turnover and they ran out on us to build the lead back up,” Williams said.
The Storm finished the game having shot a franchise-best 61.5 percent from the field, while tying team-bests in both made field goals (40) and assists (29). Head coach Jenny Boucek said that for a team that has had its share of late-game struggles, it was “good to see consistent effort and consistency throughout the game.”
“”We’ve had a lot of brilliant moments this season but the consistency has been lacking a little bit along with closing out games,” she said. “Teams will always make a run on you at some point. Tonight was a good step because we weathered and went on our own serge after that and I think the more we do that, the more we overcome the mental block we develop early.”
Seattle now embarks on a likely make-or-break five-game road trip, starting in Minnesota on Sunday evening, while Dallas finishes its two-game road swing with a Sunday afternoon matchup in Los Angeles.
- With the victory, the Storm have clinched the season series with Dallas. Seattle won the first matchup in Dallas 89-69 on July 1. The two teams meet again on Aug. 4.
- Crystal Langhorne had a season-high four assists.
- Alisha Gray had a season-and-career-high three steals for Dallas.
- Ramu Tokashiki left the game in the second quarter after suffering a right quad bruise.
- Evelyn Akhator was not with the Wings on Friday, training with the Nigerian National Team ahead of next month’s AfroBasket tournament.
- Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Lanay Montgomery, and Alexis Peterson did not play for Seattle, while Breanna Lewis was a healthy scratch for Dallas.
- Attendance: 7,797