Ezi’s excellence, Diggins-Smith’s dagger help Storm fend off Chicago

Magbegor records 13 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks; Diggins-Smith tallies 21 to pace Seattle

By Mark Moschetti, Seattle Storm

CHICAGO – It wasn’t just what Ezi Magbegor did. It was when she did it.

Magbegor went for a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds – with six of those boards inside the final five minutes of the game – and Skylar Diggins-Smith pumped in 21 points, none more crucial than a three-point dagger with 2:23 to play, and the Seattle Storm fought off a furious fourth-quarter Chicago rally to beat the Sky on Tuesday night, 77-68.

The Storm (4-3) won their third straight game and fourth of their last five, climbing above the .500 mark for the first time since the end of the 2022 season.

Jewell Loyd added 19 points and six assists inside Wintrust Arena, continuing her trend of big performances when she’s back near her hometown of Lindenwood. Nneka Ogwumike chipped in 10. And along with everything she did on the boards and the scoreboard, Magbegor came up with five blocked shots, a season high and the eighth-straight game (dating back to last season) in which she had at least two blocks.

What was looking like an easy victory when Seattle built a 19-point lead at 71-52 with 7:49 left in the game quickly got dicey. The Storm went the next 3:23 without a point while the Sky (2-3) put 12-straight on their side of the board, getting within seven at 71-64 and 5:34 still to play.

Loyd ended Chicago’s run with a pair of free throws at the 4:26 mark, making it 73-64. The Sky got back within five on two foul shots by Angel Reese and two more by Diamond DeShields. Now it was 73-68 at the 3:04 mark.

But Chicago scored no more. Whatever momentum the Sky had built through the previous five minutes was effectively deflated when Loyd went up to steal a length-of-the-court pass by Marina Mabrey. She brought the ball back across the midcourt line and found Diggins-Smith in the left corner for a 3-pointer that nestled into the net for a 76-68 lead with 2:23 left.

Mabrey missed a 3-pointer at the other end and Magbegor pulled down the rebound. Chicago got the ball back on a turnover and DeShields missed a trey. Magbegor rebounded again. A Diggins-Smith trey missed the mark, and Magbegor was there for the offensive board. That eventually led to Diggins-Smith going to the free throw line with 1:02 remaining. She hit the first for 77-68, missed the second, but managed to grab her own rebound, and the Storm then worked the clock down to below 50 seconds.

The lead changed hands 12 times during the first half, and Seattle took a 38-37 lead into the locker room on a pair of Loyd foul shots with one second remaining.

Chicago rang up the first four points of the third quarter to go back in front, 41-38. The Storm tallied the next nine to regain the lead at 47-38. That was part of a 33-11 scoring outburst that went all the way through the end of the third quarter and into the first two minutes of the fourth to produce the 71-52 advantage.


— After shooting 61.7 percent in last Saturday’s 101-69 victory against Washington – the second-highest mark in team history – the Storm started out hot again on Tuesday, hitting 10 of 16 through the first quarter.

— Diggins-Smith’s 21 points came on 7-of-12 shooting. She was 2-of-4 from behind the arc.

— Magbegor’s fifth and final block came on a shot by Reese with 3:31 to play that could have cut the 73-68 lead down to three.

— Seattle had another double-digit night for steals, coming up with 13. Every starter had at least two.

— Led by Loyd’s six, every starter also had at least one assist.

— Ogwumike’s 10 points leaves her 22 short of 6,000.

— Dana Evans led Chicago with 13 points. Star rookie Reese recorded her first double-double as a pro, logging 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.


The Storm concludes its brief two-game Midwest trip with a visit to Indiana on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time (Fox 13 / Prime Video).