Breanna Stewart One Assist Shy of Triple-Double; Seattle Improves to 3-4
SEATTLE – When the Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury met for the first time this year on May 20, Jewell Loyd scored a career-high 30 points in a victory for the Storm. Friday night at KeyArena, Loyd once again posted a new career high against Phoenix, notching 32 points to guide Seattle to a 95-81 win.
Loyd, who reached the 500-point milestone Friday night, became the third player in franchise history to score 30 on multiple occasions. The reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year finished 12-of-18 from the field and 4-for-7 from three-point range as the Storm improved to 3-4 and moved ahead of Phoenix in the league standings. Loyd had 19 in first half alone, and the Notre Dame product also set career highs with nine rebounds and five offensive boards.
“She was letting stuff come to her, not forcing it. It was all within the flow of what we do,” Storm head coach Jenny Boucek said. “She was creating for others and just taking things as they came. If she can keep doing that, she’s going to reach a whole new level. It was a really impressive performance by Jewell.”
Seattle’s 95 points and 12 three-pointers on Friday represent season highs. Four different Storm players had at least 14 points on the night, including rookie forward Breanna Stewart, who finished just shy of a triple-double with 10 rebounds and nine assists. Stewart, who was named WNBA Rookie of the Month for May, recorded her third double-double of the season.
The teams went back and forth early in the first quarter, but the Storm gained a lead midway through the period that it never relinquished the rest of the way. Seattle was ahead by double digits throughout the fourth quarter and led by as many as 16.
“We’re a long way from what we can be,” Boucek said. “But it was fun to see a glimpse tonight of what some of these players can do collectively.”
After a poor three-point shooting night on Wednesday in a loss at Indiana, the Storm made five of its first eight attempts and finished 8-of-14 in the first half to build its lead. Jenna O’Hea, making her second straight start, hit four three-pointers on seven attempts Friday night to lead the outside-shooting barrage alongside Loyd.
Storm forward Alysha Clark, after missing the previous game due to a knee bruise, came off the bench Friday and scored five points in 18 minutes.
Friday’s win marked Seattle’s first home victory over Phoenix in the last five matchups at KeyArena. The Mercury was led by Penny Taylor, who started 6-for-6 from the field and finished with 19 points. The Storm held former MVP Diana Taurasi to eight points on 3-of-9 shooting.
Before heading out on a four-game road trip, the Storm will host the New York Liberty on Sunday at KeyArena. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.