CHICAGO – Right play. Right player. Right shot.
Just not the right result for the Seattle Storm.
Jewell Loyd poured in a season-high 26 points, but her driving lay-up attempt in the final seconds of overtime fell short off the rim, and the Chicago Sky hung on for an 87-85 victory on Sunday in Wintrust Arena.
On a day when Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart were given a chance to rest, another pair of Olympians – Loyd and Australia’s Ezi Magbegor – nearly helped the Storm (16-6) pull out a win as the final homestretch of the WNBA season began.
Loyd, who grew up about 90 miles away in Lincolnwood, Illinois, and had numerous family and friends at the game, pulled down five rebounds to go along with her 26 points. Magbegor came off the bench for a career-high 21 points on 9-of-19 shooting, grabbed nine rebounds, blocked three shots, and dished two assists.
Mercedes Russell did her part with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds, plus handed out a season-high seven assists.
Seattle took the initial lead in overtime at 81-79 on a jumper by Epiphanny Princefrom the top of the key. Lay-ins by Kahleah Copper and Azura Stevens gave Chicago an 83-81 edge, then Magbegor tied it with a lay-in off an assist from Russell with 2:27 remaining.
The Sky tallied the next four points for an 87-83 advantage with 1:06 to go. A driving lay-in by Loyd got Seattle back within two at 31.6 seconds, and the Storm got a stop by forcing Quigley into a miss. Magbegor grabbed the rebound with 5.9 seconds to go. Seattle called timeout to set up the play, which became Loyd’s drive to the hoop that came up short.
The Storm struggled through a frigid second quarter, scoring just eight points and hitting just 3 of 18 from the field (16.7 percent). At one point, they missed 10 straight shots in a span of just over six minutes. An early 17-6 lead turned into a 31-28 deficit, and the Sky (11-10) took a 35-32 edge into halftime.
Seattle regained its groove late in the third quarter, stringing together seven straight points as part of an 11-2 run to go from 48-44 down to 55-50 up.
Another scoring run in the fourth quarter, this one 11-1 in the Storm’s favor, produced a 73-66 lead with 4:04 left. It was still six at 79-73 after Magbegor scored on a putback with 1:21 remaining.
But Allie Quigley, who earned her third WNBA 3-point shooting title at last month’s All-Star Game in Las Vegas, buried back-to-back buckets from downtown – the first with 1:11 left, the second at 46 seconds – to tie it at 79-79.
Seattle had a chance to snap the tie with 8.7 seconds left when Jordin Canada, who took Bird’s place in the starting lineup, went to the foul line after a hard foul. But both of her shots rimmed off, leaving the Sky with a chance for the game-winner. After two timeouts, Quigley got off a desperation 3 from the left side as the final buzzer was sounding, but it fell short, bringing on the extra five minutes.
Copper finished with 19 points for Chicago, and Quigley’s final total of 17 included 15 from long range.
The overtime game was Seattle’s fifth of the season. It is now 3-2 in extra periods.
The Storm’s five-game road trip continues Wednesday with the first of two straight contests at New York. Tip-off is at 4:00 p.m. Pacific time (JOEtv/CBS Sports Network).