Seattle – The Seattle Storm made sure fans wouldn’t forget about them in coming weeks.
With a season-high 35 points, Breanna Stewart paced the Storm past the Dallas Wings, 91-84, in front of a raucous, sellout crowd of almost 10,000 Saturday, ending the Wings’ five-game winning streak. The win pushed Seattle two games ahead of second-place Phoenix in the WNBA standings (now 1.5 after Phoenix’s win over Indiana on Sunday).
Natasha Howard finished with 17 points, and Jewell Loyd 13 as the other Seattle players in double-figures. Liz Cambage led Dallas with 23 points, while Skylar Diggins-Smith had 21 on the night.
“We knew going in that this is our last home game for a while and we knew that we would have a big crowd,” Stewart said. “So, we took the energy from them and made sure to battle the entire game.”
The home games will be few and far between for the Storm in the regular season’s closing weeks, as just three remain, which made the Wings match up all the more important before the team’s ensuing five-game road trip.
And what a contest it was.
Neither team led by more than four in a back-and-forth first half, before Seattle opened the third quarter on a 10-0 run to take their largest lead of the game. However, Dallas quickly answered, cutting the Storm advantage back down to two heading into the final period.
And much like the first two quarters, both teams played nearly even for much of the fourth, with a Kayla Thornton layup giving the visitors a one-point lead with just over two minutes to go.
Seattle responded with 10 of the game’s next 12 points – a run punctuated by a Sue Bird three-pointer with 1:04 left. That basket came after the 16-year veteran missed much of the second quarter and the opening minutes of the third with what the team only described as an “illness.” That absence loomed large with the team already short one key role player in Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, as she continues to recover from a concussion suffered in Tuesday’s loss to Los Angeles.
“We were really aggressive, and we had to make the most of it,” Stewart said. “We were down a few players, so we had to play smart.”
After the Bird three, Dallas grabbed offensive rebounds off back-to-back misses from Diggins-Smith, only to turn the ball over after a timeout. Seattle hit seven of its final eight attempts from the free-throw line to seal the victory, which kept the team from losing back-to-back games for the first time this season.
“They’re good. Their record is what is for a reason,” Diggins-Smith said. “You have to give them credit — they were more hungry on the boards and we didn’t rebound well.”
Storm head coach Dan Hughes also pointed to his team’s effort on the glass, out-rebounding Dallas 41-37 overall, and 17-8 offensively. Seattle outscored Dallas 15-5 on second-chance opportunities.
“[It was] just a really solid team performance against a good team that’s as hot or maybe hotter than anybody in the league,” he said.
Seattle starts its five-game road trip on Wednesday morning at Chicago, while Dallas returns home for a Tuesday afternoon matchup with New York.
- Attendance: 9,686. Saturday was Seattle’s second consecutive sellout, and second of the year.
- Jewell Loyd pulled down a season-high eight rebounds for Seattle.
- Seattle is the only team remaining that has not lost back-to-back games this year.