Storm cruise past Mystics for second straight win

EVERETT, Wash. – This was the kind of homecourt blowout that the Seattle Storm could enjoy.

Just 10 days after being on the short end of a 32-point romp by Chicago, the Storm singed the nets at a 59.1 percent clip from the field and breezed past the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night inside Angel Of The Winds Arena, 105-71.

Jewell Loyd poured in 20 points for the Storm, the first time she has been in that scoring neighborhood since going off for 29 in a 99-83 victory at New York on Aug. 20. Seattle had four of its five starters in double figures, and Ezi Magbegorchipped in 15 points off the bench.

The victory lifted the Storm (20-10) into a percentage-point tie with Minnesota (.667) for third place in the overall standings. However, the Lynx (18-9) have two games at hand.

Seattle hit 39 of its 66 shots from the floor, and its 59.1 percentage was four points better than its previous 2021 high of 54.7 (35 of 64) at Atlanta on June 9. It also was the second-best in the WNBA this season, trailing only the 59.72 percent shot by Las Vegas in its game against Atlanta on July 4.

Tuesday’s mark also included 60.9 percent (14 of 23) from 3-point range. The 14 makes tied a season high set twice earlier (July 2 at home against Atlanta and Aug. 20 at New York.

In addition, the Storm hit 81.2 percent (13 of 16) at the foul line. With the field goal, 3-point, and free throw marks taken together, it was the 11th time in team history they have hit those percentages or better in a single game.

All 11 Storm players who were suited saw action, and nine of them shot 50 percent or higher from the field. That included 7-of-11 by Magbegor, 5-of-6 by Sue Bird(whose 14-point night was her highest since July 11 against Phoenix in the final game before the Olympic break), and 5-of-7 by Mercedes Russell, who wound up with 11 points.

Russell’s 71.4 percent mark was her second straight, third in the last four games and fourth in the last six in the 70s. She is now at 61.3 percent for the season.

Seattle took control of the game almost from the outset and never stopped. After Ariel Atkins drained a 3-pointer to give Washington (10-18) the initial lead at 3-0, the Storm ran off 14 in a row. Breanna Stewart tallied the first five of those on a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws.

Then, it was back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers by Bird, Loyd, and Bird again – all of that just 3½ minutes into the game. The Storm finished the first with a 33-23 lead, and the only it dropped below double digits after that was early in the second quarter on a Shavonte Zellous jump shot to get the Mystics within 33-25.

For all of their success at the offensive end, the Storm also came up with a solid defensive effort, particularly against Olympic gold medalist Tina Charles.

On June 22 when the Mystics pulled out an 87-83 victory in Everett, Charles went off for 34 points on 14-of-25 shooting. On Tuesday, in her second game back after missing a stretch of four with an injury, she hit just 1-of-6 from the floor and grabbed four rebounds in 24 minutes, 30 seconds.

Zellous led Washington with 17 points in 21 minutes off the bench. The Mystics, who hit 39.3 percent from the floor (24 of 61), and just 27.3 percent (9 of 33) from downtown, were without Elena Delle Donne once again. Delle Donne had just returned to action on Aug. 22 when the Storm scored an 85-78 victory in Washington. But Tuesday was the fourth straight game she has missed because of a back injury.

The Storm head to Los Angeles for their final road game of the season on Sunday, tipping off at 6:00 p.m. (JOEtv).