SEATTLE – Playing for the first time at Alaska Airlines Arena, the Seattle Storm (7-4) outlasted the Indiana Fever (5-6) to maintain a perfect home record. Jewell Loyd finished with a team-high 21 points, including the go-ahead driving layup with under 25 seconds left. Natasha Howard safeguarded the ball after Erica Wheeler missed on Indiana’s ensuing possession, and sank two free throws to seal the win for Seattle.
Coming off a season-best 23 points, Loyd once again found her rhythm early with 10 points in the opening quarter, nearly outscoring the Fever (12). Seattle and Indiana traded blows in the second quarter, but Candice Dupree and Erica Wheeler combined for six unanswered points to give the Fever a one-possession lead heading into the locker room.
The Storm shot just above 30 percent in the third quarter as Indiana went on a 9-0 run to take the lead, capped by a Natalie Achonwa fastbreak layup at the buzzer. However, Indiana went 0-9 from the field to start the fourth quarter until Kelsey Mitchell ended the scoreless spell with a putback layup with 5:27 left in the game. Wheeler scored seven consecutive points for the Fever to tie the game with 35.1 seconds to play, but Loyd countered with a driving layup to force a Fever timeout. Mercedes Russell and Howard – each playing with four personal fouls – maintained a strong defensive presence as Wheeler was unable to connect on the Fever’s final attempt.
Indiana’s season-high 21 turnovers resulted in 18 points for the Storm. Wheeler, who had turned the ball over six times in the Fever’s loss to Seattle on June 11, committed a career-worst eight turnovers.
Despite playing in two unfamiliar home arenas while the Seattle Center Arena is under renovation, the Storm is 4-0 at home for the sixth time in franchise history and the first time since 2017.
KEY STATS OF THE GAME
- After posting season-high points last time out (23), Jewell Loydfinished with 21 points, including the go-ahead driving layup with under 30 seconds left on the clock. Since the start of last season, Seattle is 12-1 when Loyd scores 20 or more points.
- Seattle improves to 4-0 at home for the sixth time in franchise history and first since 2017 (also in 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2004).
- All-Star candidate Natasha Howard collected 17 points, six rebounds and matched her career high with four assists. She played the entire fourth quarter with four fouls. The Storm outscored the Fever by 17 points while she was on the floor, marking the best plus-minus of the night.
- The Storm starters combined for 62 of the teams 65 points.
- The Fever committed a season-worst 21 turnovers that cost them 18 points. Erica Wheeler turned the ball over eight times, the most in her career.
- For the second consecutive game, Jewell Loyd cracked double figures in less than 10 minutes of play. She nearly outscored the Fever in the first quarter (Loyd 10, Fever 12).
- Loyd once again came up clutch against Indiana. The Storm guard has scored 19 points in clutch time (defined as the last five minutes of the 4thqtr/OT and score within 5) this season on 8-14 shooting (57.1 pct).
- Seattle held Indiana scoreless for the first four and a half minutes of the fourth quarter as the Fever went 0-9 from the field.
- Trailing 49-48 entering the fourth quarter, the Storm surged back to secure its second come-from-behind victory in the final frame (also 6/14 at Washington).
- Making her second start for the Storm, Shavonte Zellous recorded 11 points on four-for-seven shooting on the night, and played the final ten minutes.
- Despite trailing by as many as seven in the second quarter, the Fever managed to outscore the Storm 23-16 in the frame.
- Teaira McCowan finished the night with six points and 13 rebounds (including four offensive boards), marking her third game with double-digit rebounds.
- With just over a minute left in the first half, Kelsey Mitchell and Candice Dupreecombined for six points to give the Fever a one-possession lead heading into the locker room.
- Indiana held the Storm to under 40 percent from the field. Entering the night, Seattle was 0-6 when shooting under 40 percent dating back to the start of 2018.
NEXT GAME: Seattle travels to Las Vegas to face the Aces on Tuesday, June 25 at 7 p.m. PT before returning to Alaska Airlines Arena for a six-game homestand.