Big fourth quarter dooms Storm in 94-78 loss at Phoenix

Seattle outscored 34-13 in pivotal fourth quarter

PHOENIX – Breanna Stewart scored 22 points and added 14 rebounds while Tina Charles recorded her first double-double in a Storm uniform with 14 points and 11 boards, but it was Phoenix’s big fourth quarter which proved the difference in a 94-78 Mercury win Friday night at Footprint Center.

The Storm fall to 17-10 on the season on the heels of its second-straight loss while the Mercury improve to 12-16.

The game featured 25 lead changes and 13 ties and was much closer than the final score would indicate. Neither team had a lead bigger than seven until the Mercury’s big fourth quarter. Seattle looked to be in control, taking a 65-60 lead in the fourth quarter. However, Phoenix opened the fourth on a 10-4 run, then—with the Storm just down four at 75-71 with 5:56 left—the Mercury rattled off 17-straight points to pull away for the win.

Stewart had another impressive game, recording a double-double by halftime and finishing with 20+ points and 14+ rebounds for the eighth time in her career and second against Phoenix. Charles had a solid game in her first game back in Phoenix, picking up her third double-double of the season and first in Storm green and gold.

Jewell Loyd tallied 15 points in the game with 12 of them coming in the third quarter including eight-straight points which put the Storm up 60-53 with 3:47 left in the third.

The Mercury tallied 14 three-pointers in the game and just four Phoenix players scored 90 of the Mercury’s 94 points. Skylar Diggins-Smith led the way with 35 points on 12-of-19 shooting with Diana Taurasi adding 28 points.

The game was likely the final between long-time friends and rivals Sue Bird and Taurasi, who have met 46 times in the regular season over the last 21 years. Bird and the Storm hold the all-time advantage in those games at 25-21. It was also Bird’s 63rd regular-season game against the Mercury all-time and the 77th game including the playoffs with the Storm holding a 37-26 advantage in the regular season and 43-34 mark all-time.

Seattle returns home for its next game, hosting the Atlanta Dream on Sunday, July 24, at 3:00 p.m. inside Climate Pledge Arena.