By Seth Dahle
Alysha Clark scored 22 points and made her first nine shots from the floor to set a franchise record for most makes without a miss, and the Seattle Storm bumped its winning streak to four games with a 94-70 victory over Indiana on Sunday night at KeyArena.
With the win, Seattle improved to 13-5 all-time vs. the Fever at home, and the Storm earned two wins against Indiana at KeyArena for the first time in franchise history. In addition, the Storm’s 94 points set a franchise record for points scored against the Fever.
Jewell Loyd added 13 points and five assists, while both Crystal Langhorne and Breanna Stewart registered 12 points apiece. Sue Bird dished out a game-high eight assists to go along with six points, and Sami Whitcomb came off the bench to chip in nine points on three triples.
Head coach Jenny Boucek said that Seattle’s versatility stood out in the win.
“We have a lot of weapons and a lot of people who are willing to play as a team,” said Boucek. “Different nights are going to be different people depending on what the defense is doing, and that’s where your humble superstars come into place.”
Clark paced the Storm’s offense in the opening 10 minutes, breaking her season high with 12 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting, including her first trey of the 2017 campaign. Seattle started the game 4-for-6 and notched points from five different players on the way to jumping to a 13-4 lead at the 5:51 mark. Tiffany Mitchell recorded a pair of steals and scored six of Indiana’s next eight to trim Seattle’s lead to four (18-14) with 2:49 left, but Clark scored inside and then logged two at the line to keep the Storm in front.
After the game, Clark said the difference in her game was the ability to finish.
“I take pride in being an efficient player,” said Clark. “In the first few games, I wasn’t being very efficient. I was frustrated with myself in that. To be able to go out, finish and get my feel back was good.”
Seattle opened the second quarter on fire, scoring nine unanswered to take a 35-22 lead. Ramu Tokashiki found Carolyn Swords connected inside on the high-low play, and Whitcomb made a three on the right wing to spark the run. With 6:24 left in the first half, Bird nailed a floater to cap the run and force a Fever timeout. The Storm led by as many as 14 (39-25) in the first half after a turn-around jumper by Stewart, and the Fever got as close as nine before Seattle took a 47-34 lead into halftime.
The Storm (4-1) set a season-high for points in a first half with 47, as the team shot 62.1 percent (18-29), including a 5-for-5 effort from Clark, who entered the contest firing at just a 30.4 percent clip.
Indiana (2-3) pulled to within 12 (50-38) before Seattle netted seven unanswered in a 65-second stretch, and the Storm used a total-team effort later in the stanza to anchor a 7-0 run to make it 72-49, as Whitcomb swooshed a three and then Tokashiki put in two at the line. Noelle Quinn drained the corner triple to extend the advantage to 24 (75-51), and Seattle entered the fourth up 77-55.
Stewart’s fadeaway on the baseline made it 81-57 Storm in the fourth frame, and Candice Dupree earned the and-one before Loyd stretched it back to 24 (84-60) with a three in the corner. The Storm forced nine turnovers in the final quarter, all while scoring at will from inside and beyond the arc. Alexis Peterson scored five straight to make it 89-64 Storm, and Whitcomb drilled her third triple before Lanay Montgomery tallied her first two points of her career to extend the advantage back to 24 (94-70).
Mitchell paced Indiana with 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting, while Dupree and Natalie Achonwa added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Seattle concludes its five-game home stand on Saturday vs. Minnesota at 6 p.m. PDT. Fans can secure the best seats in the house with Storm 360 Memberships, available now, starting at $180, available online or by calling (206) 217-WNBA (9622). Packages and group discounts are available at 206-217-WNBA (9622).