BRADENTON, Fla. — After rocketing out to a 17-point lead, the Seattle Storm (5-1) held off a late Atlanta Dream (2-4) rally to win their third straight, 93-92.
Withstanding 35 points and seven assists from Dream rookie Chennedy Carter, the Storm were powered by Breanna Stewart’s 27 points and Jewell Loyd’s 20 points.
“Our experience helped us down the stretch, being in clutch situations,” head coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “Jewell, especially, Jewell and Stewie, they’ve been there before so they made some plays that helped us get over the hump. I thought Jordin, she got to the line, she hit all her free throws down the stretch, which was huge. We needed every one of them.”
The Storm shot over 50% from the floor en route to a 54-point first half, led by Stewart’s 12 points and Alysha Clark’s 11. After only one double-digit first half scorer two days ago in a win against the Connecticut Sun, Seattle had three Thursday, with Loyd adding 10 points at the break.
On the defensive end, Seattle was able to hold off most of Atlanta’s leading scorers, with just Carter scoring in double figures in the first half. As a team, the Dream were shooting just 38.2% from the floor with just three made three-pointers. At the half, Seattle led Atlanta 54-39.
The Storm saw their lead shrink to six at the end of the third quarter, with the Dream finding their offense and holding the Storm to just 13 points in the quarter.
The struggles for Seattle continued in the fourth, with the Dream taking the lead off an Elizabeth Williams layup with 6:15 to play. In the ensuing three minutes, the Storm went on a clutch 8-0 run to take back a seven-point lead with three minutes to play.
The Storm were able to hang on and stave off a late barrage of threes from the Dream with clutch free-throw shooting from Jordin Canada and Loyd for their fifth win of the season.
“Down the stretch we just tried to execute as much as we could, knock down free throws – thank God – because if we didn’t, we would probably still be playing right now,” Canada said after the game. “But yeah, we were a little bit sluggish in the second half and that’s something that we got to fix going into the next game.”
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- The forward tandem of Breanna Stewart and Alysha Clark scored 23 of the Storm’s 31 first-quarter points, on a combined 9-of-11 shooting from the floor.
- Jordin Canada scored in double figures for the third consecutive game in place of Sue Bird, notching 14 points, six assists, and three steals.
- The Storm have secured their fourth 5-1 start in franchise history. In Seattle’s two most recent title-winning years, 2018 and 2010, it has won five of its first six games.
- The Storm took advantage of fastbreak situations Thursday night, outpacing the Dream in transition buckets 12-4 and forcing 17 Atlanta turnovers.
- Seattle finished 25-of-27 from the free throw line, with Jewell Loyd (8-for-8) and Jordin Canada (4-for-4) coming up big late at the charity stripe to hold on for the win.
The Storm will take the floor next against the rival Phoenix Mercury on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 3 p.m. ET on ABC.