By Wyatt Yearout
The Seattle Storm took down the New York Liberty 85-77 on Friday evening to secure home court advantage throughout the playoffs and improve its record to 25-8 on the season.
MVP frontrunner Breanna Stewart led the way for the Storm with 22 points and 15 rebounds, notching her ninth double-double of the season. Stewart also scored her 2000th-career point on the night, now sitting 2,004 points in her third WNBA season.
Sue Bird tallied 13 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Storm, while Natasha Howard chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds.
After Seattle led the entire first half, the Liberty caught fire in the third and took its first lead of the game at 4:24 left in the third at 54-52. The Storm didn’t panic, however, and answered by rattling off a 10-2 run to reclaim the lead entering the fourth at 62-58.
Seattle and New York traded the lead back and forth until about the Storm put together a 16-2 run to extend its lead to 15 with just under four minutes remaining. The Storm held the Liberty to just two points over a span of five minutes. New York couldn’t muster another run in the final minutes, ultimately leading to the Storm victory.
Head coach Dan Hughes felt his team was able to pull away late due to his team’s improved defense and ball security.
“I think we were able to defensively pick it up a notch and not turn the ball over. We had problems turning it over, and we valued the ball down the stretch so we got more efficient.”
- Seattle has secured home court advantage throughout the 2018 WNBA Playoffs. The only other season that Seattle entered the postseason as the #1 overall seed was 2010, the same year the team won its second WNBA Championship.
- On Seattle’s first made three-pointer (Stewart, 9:10 in first quarter), the Storm broke the WNBA’s single-season record for three’s. The previous record was Phoenix (283), achieved in 2007. Seattle now has 296 on the year.
- With a 22-point performance tonight, Stewart broke her own single-season franchise record for 20-plus point games, earning her 22nd Her previous record was 21, achieved in 2017.
- Stewart’s 15 rebounds, combined with her 22 points, mark her 9th double-double this season, 30th of her career.
- With 22 points tonight, Stewart, who has scored 727 points this season and needs to score 12 points on Sunday vs. Dallas to match the franchise’s single-season scoring record, currently held by Lauren Jackson (739 points, 2007).
- Stewart, who entered today’s game averaging 22.0 PPG, second-best in the league, scored 22 points. She reached the 2,000-point plateau with a free throw at the 6:05 mark of the 4th quarter and is the fourth-fastest and second-youngest WNBA player to achieve this feat.
- Seattle’s 85-77 win tonight clinches the Storm’s flawless bounce-back record. The Storm did not lose back-to-back games in 2018, the only WNBA team to achieve that feat in 2018 and the fifth team to do so all-time in WNBA history. (Phoenix 2014, Connecticut 2012, Houston 2000 & 1998)
- Seattle set a franchise record for points scored. With one game remaining, the Storm has scored 2,872 points. (2017, 2,808 points)
- The Storm set a WNBA record for three-point field goals made in a season with 296. (2007, Phoenix, 283)
Seattle concludes the 2018 regular season on Sunday against the Dallas Wing at KeyArena. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m./PT. The first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive a #Stewart4MVP t-shirt.