Seattle – It’s not easy to beat a team three straight times in the regular season.
It’s harder still when you’re down two starters.
But even after missing 13 of their first 14 shots from the field on Tuesday night, the Seattle Storm was in position, after three quarters, to finish off a season sweep of the Las Vegas Aces.
What followed, though, was one of the best quarters of the Aces season thus far, as they outscored Seattle 25-13 in the final period to seal an 89-77 road victory at KeyArena – their second consecutive win.
Breanna Stewart led all scorers with 27 points for the Storm (8-4), while A’ja Wilson paced Las Vegas (4-9) with 25. Kayla McBride and Tamera Young both finished with 17, while JiSu Park grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds.
“I think we just trusted each other,” Wilson said. “I think we’re slowly starting to grow and learn each other and that’s what really helped us. We just trusted each other, had fun and we were all on the same page mentally.”
Las Vegas was firing on all cylinders early, leading by as many as 14 in the opening quarter while holding Seattle to just one made field goal in the first seven minutes. But Stewart said the lack of early offense wasn’t a result of the looks they were getting.
“Sometimes that happens, the ball just doesn’t go in the basket,” she said.
Storm head coach Dan Hughes said he wasn’t surprised that it took his team a while, “to get our feet down,” with both Sue Bird (rest) and Alysha Clark (right ankle) on the bench.
But Seattle bounced back from that early deficit, cutting the gap to six by the end of the first, and taking a one-point lead into halftime. The teams played an even third, knotted at 64 heading into the final 10 minutes.
That’s when Las Vegas mimicked its hot start, using an 11-2 run to pull ahead for good, with the Storm getting no closer than eight from that point on.
“I saw defense in the fourth quarter and I saw that we were big across the board and switched everything,” said Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer. “We took away a lot of their stuff and it got us some easy baskets on the other end.”
Las Vegas outrebounded Seattle 47-30 on the night, something Hughes pointed to as a key factor down the stretch.
“Their ability to rebound on us really hurt us badly,” he said. “We had a hard time converting from three at a normal level. We put them to the line.”
When asked how they’ll bounce back from the loss, Stewart was blunt.
“This is our jobs, to do this, and to play at a high level, and yeah, right now, we’re pissed and it sucks that we lost,” Stewart said. “But we know how to turn things around to make things better for the next game.”
Seattle wraps up its five-game home stand on Friday night against Indiana, while Las Vegas starts a stretch of four home games against New York.
- Spotted: Members of the Seattle Seahawks rookie class, including first-round draft pick Rashaad Penny, were on hand, and tossed t-shirts into the crowd during a fourth quarter timeout.
- Hughes on managing Sue Bird’s health throughout the course of the season: “Life unfolds, and you try to make a good decision on some of the things that unfold. It’s not a planned thing, and quite honestly the decision wasn’t even made until game time.”
- Seattle is now 0-2 without Bird in the lineup this season.
- Former UW star Kelsey Plum was held scoreless in 17 minutes of action, but finished with six assists and two rebounds.
- Attendance: 6,395