ATLANTA – Locking down on defense. Locking up the rebounds.
That’s what helped the Seattle Storm lock up a two-game sweep of the Atlanta Dream.
Jewell Loyd pumped in 20 points, and the Storm (9-2) kept Atlanta below 40 percent shooting for the second time this week while also winning the battle of the boards to secure an 86-75 victory on Friday night in Gateway Center Arena.
Breanna Stewart was responsible for 13 of those rebounds while also supplying 18 points for her fifth double-double of the season.
Seattle limited the Dream (4-6) to 36.1 percent shooting from the field (26 of 72), including a frosty 22.2 percent from 3-point range (4 of 18). In the second quarter, when the Storm moved ahead, and in the fourth, when they pulled away, they allowed Atlanta to hit just 20 percent (7 of 35).
At the other end, Seattle topped 50 percent shooting for the second game in a row, finishing at .508 (31 of 61). That included .571 for both Loyd (8 of 14) and Epiphanny Prince (4 of 7), who got hers coming off the bench.
Atlanta dominated the rebounding on Wednesday, 42-32, including 16-3 at the offensive end, although the Storm gradually broke open the game on the way to a 95-71 win.
Different story on Friday. Seattle had a 41-33 advantage, and did not allow the Dream to grab an offensive board from the 1:15 mark of the first quarter to the 6:19 mark of the fourth.
Down 25-23 early in the second quarter, the Storm went ahead for good with an 8-2 scoring run. The lead was up to 10 by halftime at 45-35.
But the Dream, thanks to some solid free throw shooting (19 of 22 for the game), stayed within striking range, and the margin was 11 at 69-58 heading into the fourth quarter.
A decisive 9-2 run by the Storm in a span of 4 minutes, 14 seconds put the game out of reach, stretching a 75-64 led to 84-66 with just 1:42 left.
The win gave Seattle five straight against Atlanta, dating back to 2019.
Off to a 2-0 start on their five-game road trip, the Storm, who have the WNBA’s only undefeated road record (4-0) play at Connecticut on Sunday, tipping off at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time (Joe TV). Those teams battled into overtime on May 25 in Seattle, with the Storm prevailing, 90-87.
The Sun have not played since last Sunday. Seattle will be playing an opponent on just one day’s rest for the fifth time this season.