All five Storm starters score in double-figures as Seattle downs Mystics 97-84
SEATTLE – Breanna Stewart narrowly missed a triple double, finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds and a career playoff-high eight assists as Seattle cruised past Washington 97-84, sweeping the best-of-three series on Sunday afternoon at Climate Pledge Arena.
The Storm advances to the WNBA Semifinals where the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces await after they swept the Phoenix Mercury in their first round series. Seattle and Las Vegas begin their series on Sunday, August 28, at Michelob ULTRA Arena.
Stewart recorded her 15th career playoff game with 20+ points, but it didn’t look like she’d reach that mark after tallying just four points in the first half—all on free throws. But she came alive in the second half, scoring 17 points over the final 20 minutes on 6-of-10 shooting including a pair of three-pointers.
Jewell Loyd continued her hot play with 19 points with the bulk coming from a playoff career-high five three-pointers. Sue Bird had the best game of the 2022 season, scoring 18 points while adding 10 assists—both highs for the 2022 regular-season and playoffs.
Gabby Williams poured in 14 points (5-of-6 shooting) before leaving midway through the third quarter after a hit to the head caused her to leave with a concussion. Tina Charles added 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting while contributing five rebounds and a pair of assists, as all five Storm starters scored in double-figures for the fourth time in a playoff game in franchise history.
The Storm got off to a hot start, shooting 75% over the course of the first quarter, turning an early 8-7 deficit into a 27-17 lead at the end of the quarter. Loyd picked up right where she left off at the end of game one, hitting a pair of three-pointers over the first five minutes to give her a total of 18 points over a 10:26 span since late in the first game.
But that hot shooting fizzled in the second quarter as Seattle opened the period hitting just 2-of-7 over the first four minutes. Washington took advantage, hitting three-straight triples over 90 seconds to take back the lead at 32-31 with 5:41 left in the period. The teams went back and forth the rest of the half until Gabby Williams hit a layup with 10 seconds left to give Seattle a 45-43 lead at the break.
Seattle broke away in the third quarter, using a 9-0 run to take a 63-53 lead on a three-pointer by Stephanie Talbot at the 4:05 mark. Seattle maintained that 10-point edge heading into the fourth quarter before outscoring the Mystics 12-5 to open the final period, building an 83-66 lead with 6:53 to go in the contest. Washington would narrow the deficit to as few as nine, then came to within eight on a steal and fastbreak layup with 1:32 to go, but Stewart hit a layup on the next possession followed by a three-pointer by Bird to give the Storm the 13-point victory.
With the win, the Storm advances to the WNBA Semifinals for the third time in the last five seasons, playing at the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces on Sunday, August 28, at 1:00 p.m. PT.