By Seth Dahle
The Seattle Storm kept San Antonio winless on Tuesday evening, as Breanna Stewart led five players in double figures with a season-high 22 points en route to an 85-76 victory over the Stars on Tuesday at the AT&T Center.
For Stewart, it marked her second 20-plus point performance of the season, as she went 12-for-14 from the line and pulled down a team-high eight boards. Alysha Clark netted 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting, while Crystal Langhorne added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Seattle used a total-team effort to move to 5-2 on the year and collect its first road win of the season. Sue Bird registered 10 points and nine dimes, and Jewell Loyd logged 10 points and six assists, including dime No. 200 for her career.
Although the Storm led by as many as 21 in the second half, the Stars (0-8) certainly made things interesting, getting as close as six in the fourth quarter. Fortunately, the Storm outscored San Antonio, 48-32, in the first and third quarters combined, and that ultimately proved to be the difference, as well as a 23-9 edge at the charity stripe.
The first quarter was back and forth early on, featuring four ties before Seattle mustered a 10-2 run, which included four points from Stewart, to take a 21-14 lead at the 1:48 mark. The Storm held the Stars to a 1-for-7 clip during the run, and Seattle later extended the lead to nine (25-16) after a three by Noelle Quinn and free throw by Stewart.
Seattle continued to share the ball efficiently, extending its advantage to 10 (36-26) after Bird found Stewart inside with 5:17 left to go in the first half. A three by Clark stretched the Storm’s lead to 11 (39-28), and Seattle ultimately went into halftime with a 10-point (43-33) lead.
Twelve of the Storm’s 15 field goals in the opening 20 minutes were assisted, as Bird led the way with six dimes. For the fourth time this season, Seattle shot over 50 percent in the first half, going 15-for-29 for a 51.7 shooting clip. Kayla McBride was a big reason San Antonio even had a chance in the first half, tallying 14 points and hitting six of the Stars’ 15 field goals.
In the third, the teams traded baskets before Langhorne moved into double figures for her 10th point to make it 51-39 Seattle at the 4:44 mark. Early in the frame, Loyd dished to Stewart for the jumper to notch her 200th-career dime, and San Antonio never got closer than seven in the quarter. Bird dropped a wrap-around to a cutting Clark for the banker, Ramu Tokashiki netted two at the line and Clark swooshed a corner three before Loyd made a buzzer-beater to cap a 9-2 Storm run to end the quarter.
Loyd’s dime to Carolyn Swords extended Seattle’s lead to 21 (72-51), but San Antonio fired back with eight unanswered to cut the margin to 13 (72-59) after a bucket by Monique Currie. Stewart went 3-for-4 at the line to keep Seattle in front by double figures, but Moriah Jefferson led an 8-0 Stars run to cut it to six (75-69). Langhorne scored back-to-back buckets to push it back to 10 (79-69), and the Storm managed to hold off San Antonio down the stretch.
McBride ended the game with 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting for the Stars, while Jefferson and Isabelle Harrison chipped in 10 points apiece.
Seattle returns to the hardwood on Friday when it plays at Indiana, with tipoff set for 4 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).