And then there were none.
It took an extra five minutes, but the Seattle Storm became the first team in six tries to knock off the Connecticut Sun, with a 90-87 overtime thriller at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett on Tuesday night.
Jonquel Jones led all scorers with 28 points and 13 rebounds (all defensive) for Connecticut (5-1) in the losing effort, with 19 points from Brionna Jones on 9-of-13 shootings, and 15 from DeWanna Bonner. Breanna Stewart posted her fourth double-double in five games with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Sue Bird led the Storm (4-1) with 21 points, followed by Jewell Loyd with 19.
“What I think at the end of the day is that good teams find ways to win in this league,” said Storm assistant coach Noelle Quinn. “And we buckled down, we got some stops, we got some key positions down the stretch that really enabled us to give us a push to hit some big shots and gave us that lift that we needed. And during overtime we fought so hard. I am super proud of everyone for pushing through and just getting this win.”
Trailing by two in the closing seconds of regulation, a reverse layup from Sun rookie DiJonai Carrington tied the score at 79. With a chance to win it on the final possession, an apparent miscommunication saw Bird throw the ball away as the clock ticked to zero.
“I think we’re going through some growing pains, which are really just chemistry pains right now, like getting comfortable with each other, understanding each other’s games,” Bird said. “I think honestly that last play where Steph cut is a really good example.”
But for a team playing its second overtime game in four days, Seattle looked no worse for wear in the extra period, quickly staking out an eight-point lead thanks in part to a pair of Bird 3-pointers in the first minute.
The Sun pulled back within three on a Jonquel Jones triple with 1:10 to go, and had a chance to tie the game on their final possession, only to fall victim to the same mistake that befell Seattle minutes earlier.
With no open shooters behind the arc, Jasmine Thomas looked inside for Brionna Jones, only to see her pass bounce wide and out of bounds.
On a night that saw both teams without their head coaches — as Curt Miller served a one-game suspension for remarks made during Sunday’s game against Las Vegas, while Dan Hughes was away for his son’s college graduation — the sides traded several leads in the first half. Seattle finished the second quarter on an 11-0 run to take a six-point lead into the break, and pushed their lead to as many as 11 late in the third, before a late Connecticut run narrowed the gap to four heading into what would be a frantic final period.
Both teams are back in action on Friday night, with the Storm continuing their five-game homestand against Minnesota, and the Sun returning home to host Washington.