Storm Pulls Away During Dominant Third Quarter; Seattle’s Record Stands at 12-17
ATLANTA – The Seattle Storm exploded during the second half of Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Dream, using a dominant third quarter to earn a 91-82 win at Philips Arena. Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird each scored 23 points for the Storm (12-17), which remains in the eighth playoff spot with five games remaining.
Stewart shot 8-of-13 from the field on her way to 23 points, and she also recorded eight rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Bird, who entered the game shooting a career-high 45.7 percent from deep, nailed a trio of three-pointers for the fifth consecutive game. The veteran guard finished one point shy of her season high, shooting 10-for-18 on the night to go with five assists.
Jewell Loyd added 17 points for Seattle, while Alysha Clark had 11 points, five rebounds and a career-high seven assists. Angel McCoughtry finished with a season-high 32 points for the Dream.
Now 3-2 since the Olympic break, the Storm clinched the season series against Atlanta on Sunday, as the teams had split their first two meetings. It marked Seattle’s first victory in Atlanta since 2010, snapping a six-game losing streak.
The Storm was without starting forward Crystal Langhorne, who suffered a lacerated right eye on Friday against Chicago. Ramu Tokashiki made her first start of the season, notching eight points and seven rebounds.
The Dream converted its first four shots to take an 11-6 lead in the opening minutes, but Stewart countered with a stellar first quarter to put Seattle in front. The Storm took its first lead, 17-16, on a pair of Clark free throws late in the frame, part of Seattle’s 16-for-16 performance at the foul line. Stewart finished the period with eight points, helping the Storm to a 21-17 advantage.
Atlanta tied it up at 21 apiece after a cold start to the second frame by Seattle, as the Storm failed to score until Stewart’s layup at the 6:24 mark. Seattle regained the lead and maintained it the rest of the half, thanks in large part to dominant play from Stewart. Bird also hit back-to-back jumpers late in the second quarter, and her layup with time expiring made it 41-33 at the break.
In the third frame, Seattle outscored Atlanta 32-16, matching its highest-scoring quarter of the season. Stewart got going right away with an and-one on the first possession, and three-pointers by Clark and Loyd increased the lead to 51-37. A jumper by Tokashiki capped off a 10-0 run and pushed Seattle’s lead to 20 points midway through the quarter. After Atlanta responded with a run of its own, the Storm scored the final six points of the frame to take a 73-49 edge into the fourth.
The Dream had the edge in the final quarter, including a 12-0 run that trimmed its deficit to a dozen with four minutes remaining. Bird made three consecutive jump shots in the final minutes to help the Storm prevent a comeback.
Seattle’s road trip continues on Wednesday, when it faces the New York Liberty at 4 p.m. PT.