BRADENTON, Fla. — Up against one of the top offenses in the WNBA, the Seattle Storm (6-1) were able to contain the Phoenix Mercury (4-3) in a 74-68 victory on Saturday.
Seattle held Phoenix to a season-low in points, and a 36.4% shooting percentage en route to a victory over its rival and were led in scoring by Jewell Loyd’s 20 points. Breanna Stewart (15) and Alysha Clark (11) were the other double figure scorers for the Storm.
“Especially in the first half, we were really good,” head coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “I thought we had them on everything that they wanted to do with our pressure and traps and rotate. We probably relaxed a little bit in that fourth quarter, but overall, it’s a good offensive team.”
After a rough going for both offenses in the opening quarter, the Storm began to build separation in the second frame, starting the quarter on an 8-0 run. The offensive surge continued through the quarter, with Loyd and Clark both logging double figure scoring by halftime with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Seattle also ramped up its defensive pressure, allowing just seven second quarter points and holding the Mercury to less than 30% shooting from the floor. By halftime, the Storm had only allowed one three-pointer, and made seven to run out to a 42-23 lead.
Scoring just four points in the first half, reigning WNBA Western Conference Player of the Week Stewart scored nine points in the third quarter to help Seattle keep a 20-point lead over Phoenix after three quarters.
The Storm let the lead slip away late in the fourth quarter, but did just enough to hold on for their sixth win of the season.
“For us, we just wanted to make sure that every game we were getting better, and give ourselves and put ourselves in positions to win,” Clark said. “We’ve been able to do that so far. This stretch that we’re in right now – a 10-game stretch in 20 days – is going to be tough, so finding ways to win right now is important and we hope we can keep that going.”
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- Jewell Loyd went the first six games this season without missing a free throw, going a perfect 15-of-15, before missing her first Saturday against the Mercury. On the year, Loyd is still 18-of-19 at the charity stripe.
- With a win, the Storm have gotten out to a 6-1 start for just the second time in franchise history. The last time the Storm started a season 6-1, in 2010, they won a championship and didn’t drop a second loss until the 11th game of the year.
- Jordin Canada continued her strong play in place of Sue Bird in the starting lineup, assisting on a season-high 10 baskets, just two away from her career-high 12, set last season. Canada is now just two assists shy of 300 career assists.
- Entering Saturday, Breanna Stewart was one of the WNBA players to score at least 15 points in every game this season, and the star forward continued that streak today, scoring 15 points on 33.3% shooting from the field.
- Natasha Howard logged her first double-digit rebound game of the year Saturday, grabbing 10 boards.
- Jewell Loyd led the Storm in scoring with 20 points. Loyd has averaged 18.9 ppg in 16 career regular-season games against the Mercury, with three of her four career 30 point games coming against Phoenix.