The Seattle Storm overcame an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and Breanna Stewart scored 11 of her game-high 22 points in the final 10 minutes to carry Seattle to a 79-78 victory over San Antonio on Friday night at KeyArena.
Stewart also grabbed nine rebounds in the win for Seattle (13-16), which won three straight for the first time since May and improved to 3-0 under interim head coach Gary Kloppenburg. Jewell Loyd added 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting, while Sue Bird scored 14 points and dished out six dimes.
Facing a 65-54 deficit in the fourth quarter, Seattle fired back with a furious 20-5 run to snag a 74-70 lead with 2:21 left to play after a three-pointer by Stewart. San Antonio responded with four unanswered, including the game-tying three-pointer from Kayla McBride at the 1:19 mark. Stewart drew contact and tallied two at the stripe to put the lead back in the hands of Seattle, but then Isabelle Harrison found space inside to knot it again at 78.
Alysha Clark connected on two free throws with 29.9 remaining, and then Seattle notched a critical defensive stop on the following possession. Loyd split a pair with 10.8 remaining to stretch the Storm advantage to three (79-76), and it looked as though former UW standout Kelsey Plum had hit the game-trying triple with just 0.8 on the clock. After an official review, the shot was ruled a two-point basket, and the Storm escaped with the critical one-point victory.
Seattle moved 1.5 games ahead of Chicago in the WNBA standings and tied with Dallas for the seventh seed in the WNBA playoffs.
Dearica Hamby came off the bench to tie a career high with 19 points to go along with 10 boards, while McBride added 18 points, including four triples for San Antonio (7-23).
An evenly played first half found the Storm trailing by three (40-37) at the break. A 5-0 Stars run pushed the visitor’s lead to five (22-17) at the 1:24 mark of the first frame, San Antonio later matched the five-point gap in the second stanza at 28-23, but Loyd canned two triples to anchor an 8-0 Storm run to put Seattle on top by three (31-28) at the 4:57 mark.
The third quarter saw San Antonio go up by five on five separate occasions, but the Storm managed to stay in the contest thanks to team basketball, as six different players scored in the frame. But between Plum and Hamby, who combined for 15 of the Stars’ 17 third-quarter points, San Antonio entered the final frame with a 57-52 advantage.
As a team, Seattle shot 45.6 percent (31-68) and had 15 team assists. San Antonio fired at a 49.2 (31-for-63) rate and owned a 37-23 advantage on the glass. The Storm committed a season low seven turnovers.
The Storm has just one home game remaining in the 2017 regular season, which will take place on Aug. 27 vs. Phoenix at 6 p.m. PDT.
Seattle continues its push for a playoff spot on Sunday at Chicago, with tipoff set for 5 p.m. CDT at Allstate Arena. 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).