Game Recap: Storm drops close contest to Aces, 86-84

BRADENTON, Fla. — In its final game of the regular season, the Seattle Storm (18-4) couldn’t complete a late rally and fell to the Las Vegas Aces (18-4), 86-84.

The loss means Seattle will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming WNBA Playoffs, with a double-bye already secured.

The Storm was led by double-digit scorers Jewell Loyd, who dropped 30 points, and Alysha Clark, who scored 16.

“I thought we battled, we were right there,” head coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “We were really one or two plays away from winning this game. I’m proud of the way we fought tonight.”

The Storm once again got off to a great start offensively, moving the ball for six assists on 11 baskets and a 50% field goal percentage in the first quarter. Las Vegas, meanwhile, only shot 33.3% from the field, and Seattle led the Aces by seven after one frame.

The fireworks continued into the second, with the Storm’s shooting dipping just a little bit and the Aces catching up. After a quick Las Vegas run, the rest of the second quarter featured buckets back and forth until the Aces led 46-44 at halftime. Coming through for the Storm was Clark, who was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and 4-for-4 from three for 16 first-half points.

The defenses clamped down in the third quarter, with both teams shooting well below how they had been, but Loyd came out on fire for the Storm. She scored 19 of their 22 third-quarter points, and helped Seattle take a two-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Despite a strong defensive effort, the Storm couldn’t get enough offense down the stretch to pull off a late rally and win their final game.

“We’ll go back and watch it, figure it out, how to be better,” Loyd said. “Not just for this team again but just for heading into this playoffs and finding ways to get better down the stretch.”