Friday, June 24 – 7 p.m. PT
KeyArena | Seattle, WA
JOEtv; WNBA League Pass
Both teams will be fresh after four days of rest, as Connecticut last played on Sunday against San Antonio and took a 93-90 victory. The Storm has lost five of its last six games to drop to 4-9 on the season, which puts Seattle at ninth in the league standings. Connecticut is 3-10, the second-worst record ahead of only the Stars.
The Storm and Sun have already faced off twice this year, with each team winning on its home court. In the first meeting at KeyArena, Jewell Loyd scored a game-high 26 points, including 18 in the second half, to guide Seattle to a 93-81 win. Rookie Morgan Tuck notched 20 points to guide the Sun to a 77-76 win in Connecticut.
When the Storm played at Connecticut in 2015, Sun forward Shekinna Stricklen scored off a rebound with 8.2 seconds left to give the host team a one-point victory. On June 10 at Mohegan Sun Arena, the exact same sequence occurred, except this time it was Alyssa Thomas who scored the game-winning putback. Thomas scored the final four points of the contest, including the winning layup with less than one second remaining, to sink the Storm 77-76. She scored after a rebound of Camille Little’s miss with 0.6 seconds remaining to clinch the win for Connecticut.
On Sunday against Minnesota, Storm second-year guard Jewell Loyd matched her career high of six assists in the first half, finishing the night with a new personal best of seven dimes and just two turnovers in 38 minutes. Not a point guard for the vast majority of her basketball career, Loyd has shown the ability to be a playmaker in her second WNBA season. She’s dished out five or more assists on four occasions, increasing her average from 1.9 assists per game last year to 2.8 this season. Loyd has also increased her scoring from 10.7 points per game to 17.2, and her three-point shooting percentage from 20.8 to 29.3.
After making less than 30 percent of her shots in a five-game stretch, Storm rookie forward Breanna Stewart has found her touch in the last two outings. Stewart scored a season-high 29 points on 8-of-11 shooting at Dallas and 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting against Minnesota. In the last three contests, Stewart has done incredible work from the free throw line, going 27-of-32 at the charity stripe for an average of nine free throws made per game.
After coming off the bench the first 10 games, rookie Morgan Tuck has been a starter in Connecticut’s frontcourt three straight contests. For the third time this season, Tuck will match up with former UConn teammate Breanna Stewart, the reigning Rookie of the Month. Tuck is averaging 8.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game, while Stewart is second in the league with 34.8 minutes per game, averaging 16.7 points and 9.7 rebounds.
- In light of the tragedy at Pulse in Orlando on June 12, the Storm is creating ways for fans to support the victims, their families and the LGBTQ community at Friday’s game. Fans will be able to purchase #OrlandoUnited t-shirts, with all proceeds going to the OneOrlando Fund. The first 500 people to donate will receive their t-shirt in person, and remaining orders can be placed at the game. At the happy hour before the game, large banners will be available for fans to write messages to the victims’ families and the city of Orlando. The Storm is teaming with the NBA’s Orlando Magic to deliver the banners to their city.
- In celebration of the WNBA’s landmark 20th season, the league unveiled the 20 greatest and most influential players in its history with its announcement of the WNBA Top 20@20 presented by Verizon. Storm point guard Sue Bird, now in her 15th WNBA season, was honored as one of the 20 players. The list includes nine current players: Bird, Swin Cash, Seimone Augustus, Tamika Catchings, Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Cappie Pondexter, Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen. Storm legend Lauren Jackson is one of 11 former players.