By Wyatt Yearout
A big fourth quarter from the Storm and another strong performance from rookie guard Jordin Canada helped lead Seattle to an 84-61 victory over Phoenix and an undefeated 2018 preseason.
Canada finished the game with 17 points, three rebounds and three assists, going 3-for-5 from deep and 6-for-7 from the line.
Breanna Stewart chipped in 14 points and eight rebounds, nailing three triples of her own. Aleksandra Crvendakic and Natasha Howard each had 12 points off the bench in the winning effort, and Howard had a game-high two blocks as well.
After a back-and-forth battle in the opening three quarters, the Storm rattled off a 16-2 run from the 2:36 mark of the third quarter, including a three-pointer from Canada, Stewart and Teana Muldrow.
To start the fourth frame, Seattle held Phoenix to 1-for-6 shooting in the first couple minutes. They extended their lead throughout the period, knocking down five shots from behind the arc in the fourth compared to the Mercury’s one.
Seattle catching fire in the fourth eventually help stretch its shooting percentage to 44 percent. The Storm also shot 11-for-26 from three while holding Phoenix to just 4-for-19 from deep.
The Storm’s defense played strong again, holding the Mercury to a 32 percent shooting clip for the game while also forcing 18 turnovers.
- Between the first and second quarters, the Storm used an 11-0 run sparked by a Canadathree-pointer to lead by as many as eight (22-14) in the first half.
- Due to family matters, head coach Dan Hugheswas absent from tonight’s contest, and assistant coach Gary Kloppenburg acted as head coach.
- Sue Bird dished out a game-high five assists. She is the WNBA’s all-time assists leader with 2,610 dimes, averaging a career-best 6.6 per game during the 2017 season.
- Seattle played without Courtney Paris and Kaleena Mosqeuda-Lewis due to commitments overseas.
- The Storm is now 8-17 all-time in road preseason games.
- Seattle went undefeated (2-0) in preseason play for the first time since the 2013 season, when the Storm defeated Los Angeles, 67-66, on May 12 and Tulsa, 63-59, on May 17.
- Alysha Clark earned the start for tonight after returning from Poland on Wednesday. She finished with six points.
The Storm tips off the 2018 season on Sunday, May 20 against the Phoenix Mercury. Start time at KeyArena is set for 6 p.m. PT.