PHOENIX – Exactly one year ago, the Seattle Storm was on its way back to KeyArena to host a winner-take-all Game 5 against the Mercury after failing to clinch a WNBA Finals berth in Phoenix.
This time around, Seattle secured the regular-season series over the Mercury with an 82-70 win at Talking Stick Resort Arena. With the victory, Seattle improves to 17-15 on the season. By nature of the Storm’s 3-1 head-to-head advantage over the Minnesota Lynx (also 17-15), Seattle is now in position for the sixth seed in the WNBA playoffs, which would give the Storm homecourt advantage in the first round.
Natasha Howard paced the Storm with 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Jordin Canada recorded her second career double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. WNBA Western Conference Player of the Week Brittney Griner scored 22 points and grabbed seven bounds, but Phoenix’s starting backcourt combined for just five points on 1-of-8 shooting.
After seven early lead changes, the Storm took over at the 5:39 mark of the first quarter and never looked back. Alysha Clark and Howard outscored the Mercury in the opening frame, combining for 19 of the Storm’s 25 points. By halftime, Seattle had widened the gap to 15 points.
Griner scored eight points on 4-of-5 shooting in the third, but the Mercury still trailed by 20 points heading into the final frame. After Sami Whitcomb drained a pair of three-pointers in the fourth quarter, the Mercury responded with nine consecutive points to get within 11 of Seattle with under three minutes to go. Clark undercut the Mercury’s momentum with a layup as the Storm went on to secure the road win.
KEY STATS OF THE GAME
- With the win, the Storm improves to 17-15 on the season and wins the regular-season series vs. the Mercury. By nature of the Storm’s 3-1 head-to-head advantage over the Minnesota Lynx (also 17-15), Seattle now in position for the sixth seed in the WNBA playoffs.
- Jordin Canada recorded her second career double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. Her other double-double came on July 12, 2019 vs. Dallas (14 points, 12 assists… and zero turnovers).
- Natasha Howard recorded her ninth double-double of the season with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Sixteen of her points came in the first half. In three games against the Mercury this season, Howard is averaging 12.0 rebounds per contest, her most vs. any opponent.
- Seattle drained 10 of its first 13 shots of the contest as Alysha Clark and Natasha Howard combined for19 of the Storm’s 25 first quarter points.
- Clark’s 17 points are her second-most this season, trailing only her 21-point, 7-of-7 FG outing in New York. The league’s three-point field goal percentage leader was 3-of-5 from deep, bringing her season three-point total to 48 and her career total to 198.
- Howard swiped three steals to up her league-leading season total to 72.
- For the second consecutive game, Seattle opened the game with 50+ points in the first half. Seattle is 5-0 this season in games with 50 points in the first half.
- Jewell Loyd served up 11 points and a season-high five assists, all coming in the first half. She was 1-of-2 from three-point range to bring her career three-point total to 199.
- The Storm’s starting backcourt duo of Jordin Canada and Jewell Loyd combined for 21 points and 15 assists. The Mercury’s starting backcourt duo combined for five points (1-8 FG) on six assists.
- WNBA Western Conference Player of the Week Brittney Grinerled her team with 22 points and seven rebounds.
- Dewanna Bonner’s31 points against the Storm in its season opener is the most that Seattle has allowed by any opponent this season. However, the fourth leading scorer in the league only saw 21 minutes of action after suffering a bone bruise on Sunday vs. Chicago. She was held to seven points and three rebounds.
- Briann January led both benches with nine points and four assists. The Mercury reserves outscored the Storm bench, 26-14.
Seattle continues its final road trip of the regular season on Thursday, Sept. 5 at STAPLES Center, where the defending champions will face the Los Angeles Sparks at 7:30 p.m. PT on CBS Sports Network.