Balanced attack leads Seattle past Atlanta, 91-88

Storm rides season-high 14 three-pointers to victory at home

EVERETT, Wash. – The bench bunch came through big-time.

But when it came to crunch time, it was Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd who brought it home for the Seattle Storm.

The two Olympians and WNBA All-Stars each scored six of Seattle’s last 12 points – with the final four of those from Loyd inside 40 seconds to play – and the reserves put a season-high 39 onto the board as the Storm hung on to beat the Atlanta Dream inside Angel Of The Winds Arena on Friday night, 91-88.

The result, in front of a season-high 3,011 fans on the first night that all seats were open, got Seattle (13-4) back on track after it had lost two straight for the first time this season.

Bird finished with a team-high 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to help keep the Storm ahead.

Loyd tallied 10 points, with the last four of them helping to seal it for Seattle. She didn’t even take her first shot of the game until 3:01 remained – a runner that went in and pushed the Storm’s lead to 84-78.

Then, with Seattle up just 87-86 inside the final minute, Loyd drove toward the hoop, but her floater missed. The ball was knocked high into the air, and as it came back down, she got a hand to it and tipped it in for a three-point edge with 37.7 seconds left.

Courtney Williams scored the last of her 20 points for the Dream (6-10) on a jumper from the foul line with 29 seconds to go, again cutting it to one at 89-88.

After a timeout, the Storm inbounded in front court on the left side. Loyd kept the ball in a dribble between the circles, guarded at a distance by Williams as the clock wound down. She then drove toward the hoop and scooped up a left-handed shot from the left side of the rim that dropped through with 6.1 seconds to go, making it 91-88.

Williams got one last try for Atlanta, a 3-pointer from the top of the key. It bounced off the rim, and the Storm’s Mercedes Russell knocked it corner where Bird grabbed it, heard the horn sound and flung it high into the air.

The Storm led from the middle of the second quarter on, going in front for good with a 13-2 run that turned a 31-30 deficit into a 43-33 lead.

But the Dream would not be pushed away. They got within three by halftime at 50-47 and were down just one midway through the third quarter at 60-59 when Seattle rang up nine straight points – all from the reserves, the last five of which came from Stephanie Talbot.

Those reserves also hit a pair of big hoops in the fourth quarter to keep the Storm ahead. Ezi Magbegor, won a jump ball in front of the Atlanta basket, knocking it out to Jordan Canada, who streaked to the other end for a lay-in and a 75-68 lead with 9:02 remaining.

Then at the 6:26 mark, Kennedy Burke launched a 3-pointer from the left corner that was in midflight when the shot clock buzzer sounded – and it swished through to make it 78-72.

Atlanta got within one three times in the last 2½ minutes, but the Storm answered every time.

Along with Magbegor’s 12 points off the bench, Talbot finished with 10.

Seattle returns to action on Sunday in Los Angeles against the Sparks. The game tips off at 6:00 p.m. Fans can watch the game locally on Antenna TV ( or tune to channel 22.3 or Comcast channel 340) or on NBA TV.