COLLEGE PARK, Ga. – What Jewell Loyd started, Stephanie Talbot finished.
Loyd scored 13 of her 18 points in the first quarter, and Talbot came off the bench to tally all 13 of hers in the fourth as the Seattle Storm pulled away from the Atlanta Dream for a 95-71 victory on Wednesday night in Gateway Center Arena.
The Storm (8-2) were down 51-49 with 7:08 left in the third quarter, but outscored Atlanta the rest of the way, 46-20.
Seattle enjoyed its best shooting night of the season, hitting 54.7 percent overall from the field (35 of 64). That included 12 of 22 from behind the 3-point line (a season-best 54.5 percent).
While their own offense was clicking, the Storm toughened up defensively in the final 17 minutes of the game. The Dream (4-5) hit four of their first five shots in the third quarter on the way to turning a 45-43 halftime deficit into their 51-49 lead.
But after that, Seattle limited Atlanta to just 6-of-33 shooting the rest of the way.
Loyd hit five of her first six shots to help the Storm take a 28-23 lead by the end of the first quarter.
But the Dream, thanks to some aggressive rebounding at the offensive end, stayed in the game, using an 16-8 run in the second quarter to trim a 37-27 Seattle advantage back to just two.by the break.
Staring at that 51-49 deficit – just the second time in the game they had trailed (their only other deficit was 3-2), the Storm scored 11 of the next 13 points to go up 60-53. Atlanta never came closer than six after that, the last time at 67-61 late in the third.
Along with Loyd’s 18 points and Talbot’s 13, four other Seattle players got into double figures: 15 for Breanna Stewart, 11 each for Sue Bird and Mercedes Russell, and 10 for Katie Lou Samuelson.
Tiffany Hayes led the Dream with 22, but was limited to just six in the second half.
This was the opener of a five-game road trip for the Storm. A rematch with Atlanta is on the docket for Friday at 5:00 Pacific time (Joe TV).