By Matthew Roberson
Seattle entered play on Saturday at the College Park Center needing a win in the worst way, and the Storm got just that, defeating Dallas, 89-69, behind a season-high 30 points from Breanna Stewart to go along with 10 rebounds.
Seattle (7-8) had lost three in a row and dropped its last four contests away from home. Head coach Jenny Boucek and her team cooked up a great defensive effort to beat the Wings, and Stewart’s double-double marked her fifth of the season. Seattle also tied a franchise high with 29 assists.
Crystal Langhorne provided her usual steady low post presence, scoring a season-high 19 points while gobbling seven rebounds. Sue Bird passed the 2,500 assist milestone in the second quarter, while Alysha Clark added her name to the 1,000 point club and recorded 10 points to go along with nine rebounds, which tied a season high. Seattle was successful on 37-for-65 field goals (56.9 percent) and held Dallas to a 24-of-68 clip (35.3 percent).
Turnovers plagued the Storm to begin the game. Seattle fell behind 13-7 in the game’s first five minutes, turning the ball over four times while recording just three assists. Dallas failed to capitalize fully on its opponents’ struggles, missing its first five three pointers to begin the game. Seattle took its first lead of the game (16-15) on a Stewart fadeaway off the glass with 56.2 seconds remaining in the first. Stewart followed that up with an and-one on the Storm’s next possession. She finished the first quarter with 10 points as Seattle took a 19-17 lead into the second frame.
Stewart opened Seattle’s lead to six (23-17) on a putback at the rim at the second quarter’s 8:53 juncture. This basket capped a 14-4 run by the Storm. Clark sank a three in transition to bring the lead to 29-22 at the quarter’s 7:01 mark. Bird notched her historic 2,500th assist on an inbound play underneath the basket. Bird found a cutting Stewart who flipped the ball through the hoop as the shot clock expired.
A Clark corner three took Seattle’s lead to nine points (36-27) with 4:25 left in the half. The bucket also gave Clark 1,000 career points in the WNBA. After a Dallas turnover with 1:53 on the clock, Seattle extended its lead to double digits (43-32) for the first time when Sami Whitcomb splashed a jumper from downtown. The Storm sat on a 47-38 lead at halftime. Stewart led the way for Seattle with 18 first-half points.
Seattle shot a collective 57 percent from the field in the first half, including five trey balls. Dallas converted on just 38.7 of its shot attempts and hit only one of its 11 three pointers. The Wings did get 13 of its 38 first half points from the bench.
The Storm kept its foot on the gas pedal in the game’s second half. Stewart finished a fast break by banking home a layup off an assist from Jewell Loyd to widen the gap to 13 points (56-43) with 7:31 on the third quarter scoreboard. The lead stretched to 14 (59-45) on Langhorne’s three-point play inside.
Bird nailed a deep three at the 5:30 mark to make the score 64-47. Loyd went down seconds later after colliding with Karima Christmas-Kelly and sat for the rest of the quarter. Seattle’s lead swelled above 20 points (68-47) on a Clark bucket late in the third quarter.
After shooting 41.3 percent from deep in its last two games, the Wings (8-9) knocked in just one of 15 threes (6.7 percent) through the first three quarters on Saturday and finished the game with a 1-for-17 line from long range.
The Storm was able to coast to the victory down the stretch, earning its first win since June 18 and putting an end to a three-game skid. The 20-point triumph also gave Seattle its first win on the road in its last four chances. Bird ended the game with eight assists, which was the eighth time this year she’s distributed eight helpers.
Seattle returns home to begin a five-game homestand with against the New York Liberty on July 6, with tipoff set for 7 p.m. PDT at KeyArena. 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).