Loyd scores a team-high 32 points including 19 in the fourth quarter
INDIANAPOLIS – For a spectacular stretch of the fourth quarter on Thursday night, it seemed as if Jewell Loyd just couldn’t miss a shot – because she didn’t miss one.
But that still left the Indiana Fever just enough time – and more than enough opportunities – to pull out a victory.
Loyd scored 32 points, including 16 in a row for Seattle during the fourth before Indiana ended the game on a 9-2 run and beat the Storm inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse, 90-86.
Ezi Magbegor put her ninth double-double of the season and 12th of her career into the book for Seattle (10-24), this one with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Those 13 boards pushed her from No. 10 up to No. 8 on the Storm’s single-season list. She now has 271.
Magbegor also came up with her 100th career steal. That made her the 61st WNBA player with 1,000-plus points, 600-plus rebounds, 150-plus blocked shots and assists, and 100-plus steals, and the third-youngest among that group to reach the milestone.
Loyd’s string of 16-straight points, which began on a 3-pointer with 6:24 left in the game and ended on another trey with 3:39 to go, helped the Storm trim a 71-62 deficit to 80-78. She hit 5 of 5 from the floor (2 of 2 from behind the arc) and 4 of 4 at the free throw line, with two of those foul shots capping traditional three-point plays.
With the game tied at 81-81. Loyd nailed another 3, this one from the right of the lane, for an 84-81 lead at the 1:44 mark.
The Fever (10-23) then ran off seven points in a row, taking advantage of five offensive rebounds and two Seattle turnovers, making it 88-84 with 20.2 seconds left. Sami Whitcomb’s reverse lay-in at the 15.7 second mark cut it to 88-86.
Forced to foul, the Storm wound up sending Kelsey Mitchell to the free throw line for the last two of her 36 points with 12.7 seconds to go. That returned it to a two-possession margin at 90-86.
Indiana got 41 of its 90 points on either second-chance opportunities (19) or Seattle turnovers (22).
Of Loyd’s 32 points, 19 came during the fourth quarter. Having become the Storm’s all-time single-season scoring leader on Tuesday at Chicago, she moved past Seimone Augustus into No. 4 on the WNBA’s all-time single-season list, now with 780 points. Loyd hit 10 of 23 on Thursday for her 11th game of 30-plus points this season and the 20th of her career.
The entire contest was played within a 13-point range, and neither team was ever ahead by double digits. The Storm’s biggest advantage was four at 13-9 in the first quarter; the Fever had that nine-point cushion at 71-62 in the fourth. The lead changed hands 16 times, and the score was tied 11 times.
One of those ties was at 36-36 with 3:55 left in the second quarter. Indiana closed the half on a 10-2 burst to take a 46-38 lead into the locker room.
Seattle thought it was within four points heading into the fourth quarter at 63-59. But during the break between the third and fourth, officials reviewed what had been counted as a shot clock buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Jordan Horston. The ruling after the review was that the shot came just after the buzzer, so the three points were taken down, leaving it at 63-56.
Mitchell’s 36 points for Indiana were just two short of her career high. She hit 10 of 20 from the floor (4 of 9 from downtown) and 12 of 16 from the free throw line. Mitchell single-handedly had a seven-point possession in the first quarter. She hit a 3-pointer, was fouled by Horston, and drained the ensuing free throw, tying the score at 15-15.
Then, because the foul was upgraded to a flagrant, the Fever retained possession, and Mitchell buried another 3-pointer from almost the same spot where the hit the first one.
She had plenty of help. NaLyssa Smith and star rookie Aliyah Boston both had double-doubles: 16 points and 11 rebounds for Smith, 12 points and 10 boards for Boston.