Stewart Ties WNBA Single-Game High in Points for 2016; Seattle Improves to 6-9
SEATTLE – Rookie forward Breanna Stewart scored 38 points, tied for the most by a WNBA player this season, and the Seattle Storm came from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat the Atlanta Dream 84-81 on Tuesday at KeyArena. It was the first career 30-point game for Stewart, who went 12-of-16 from the field en route to the highest-scoring performance by a rookie in franchise history.
In her last four games, Stewart is averaging 29.2 points on 67.9 percent shooting. The reigning Rookie of the Month went 11-of-13 from the free throw line Tuesday night and also led the Storm with six rebounds. She surpassed her college career high in points, as the most Stewart scored during her four years at the University of Connecticut was 37.
The Storm had a comfortable advantage for most of Tuesday’s game until the fourth quarter, when the teams went back and forth and the lead changed hands four times. Trailing by four with 1:22 remaining, Seattle closed the game on a 7-0 run thanks to five consecutive points from Stewart and a jumper from Sue Bird with eight seconds on the clock. Bird’s jump shot made is 84-81, and the Dream’s Meighan Simmons missed the potential tying three-pointer in the final seconds.
Bird finished with 15 points and a game-high five assists, and Crystal Langhorne chipped in 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting for the Storm. Angel McCoughtry paced the Dream with 22 points on 9-for-15 from the field.
With the victory, Seattle (6-9) is now tied for eighth in the WNBA standings. The Storm won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Langhorne started 3-for-3 in the opening minutes, but Atlanta countered with a pair of Bria Holmes three-pointers to grab the lead in the opening frame. Stewart started to dominate midway through the period, scoring 10 points during a 17-2 run for the Storm. Seattle held a commanding 27-19 edge at the period’s end.
Stewart scored Seattle’s first two baskets of the second quarter, including a three-pointer, and the Storm increased its lead to double digits midway through the period. Atlanta went on a 7-0 run to cut its deficit to four, but the Storm responded with an 8-2 spurt to finish the quarter behind another pair of buckets from Stewart, who ended with 20 points in the half on 7-of-10 shooting.
Atlanta stayed within striking distance early in the second half, and the Dream pulled even closer when McCoughtry started to find her touch. McCoughtry, who entered Tuesday’s game at third in the WNBA with 20 points per game, went 4-of-5 from the field in the third quarter to help Atlanta cut the deficit to one heading into the back-and-forth final quarter.
After being acquired over the weekend, guard Noelle Quinn and center Krystal Thomas both made their first appearances of the season for Seattle on Tuesday. Quinn had a pair of assists in 16 minutes, while Thomas recorded two rebounds in nine minutes.
Before heading out on a three-game road trip, the Storm hosts the Dallas Wings on Thursday at 7 p.m. Seattle then plays at Atlanta on July 5.