SEATTLE – Despite carrying a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter, the Seattle Storm came up short for the second straight game, falling at home to the New York Liberty, 84-83. Mercedes Russell secured a career-high 19 points but it was not enough to overcome Tina Charles’ 26 points – 11 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Out of the gate, Sami Whitcomb made a pair from the charity stripe, but the Storm went 0-for-5 from the field until Mercedes Russell hit the team’s first bucket at the 8:01 mark. Kia Nurse was responsible for 11 of the Liberty’s 18 first-quarter points, as both teams held equal after 10 minutes.
After 2019 WNBA No. 2 overall draft pick Asia Durr made a driving layup to open the second quarter, the Storm surged ahead with an 11-3 run, but New York countered with nine straight points. Whitcomb drained a three with 4.5 seconds left to get within one of the Liberty heading into halftime.
After she was held to five points on 2-of-10 shooting in the first half, Natasha Howard hit a pair of three-pointers early in the third quarter as the Storm went on an 18-4 run run to forge a game-high 11-point lead. Nurse scored eight consecutive points for the Liberty and Charles added seven, but Shavonte Zellous – playing against her former team – nailed a jumper with 35.1 seconds left in the frame to give the Storm a 10-point lead.
New York opened the fourth quarter with 10 consecutive points to tie it up as Seattle turned the ball over four times. Charles then took over, pouring in 11 of the Liberty’s fourth-quarter points despite picking up her fifth foul with under two minutes remaining in regulation.
Out of a timeout with 25.7 seconds to play, Jordin Canada took the ball up the court but was unable to connect from beyond the arc. Alysha Clark couldn’t put back the offensive rebound as the Storm was defeated for the second straight game.
KEY STATS OF THE GAME
- This was the fifth consecutive Storm game decided by less than five points, and the eighth in 15 games this season. Entering the day, the Storm’s streak of 49 consecutive games without back-to-back losses dating back to Sept. 3, 2017, was the third longest in WNBA history (per the Elias Sports Bureau). The Storm’s combined margin of defeat in its last two games was three points.
- Tina Charles nearly outscored the Storm in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 points to Seattle’s 13. She finished with a game-high 26 points.
- Mercedes Russell recorded a career-high 19 points on near-perfect shooting, finishing 7-for-8 from the field. Eleven of her points came in the first quarter.
- Natasha Howard made a pair of three-pointers in the third quarter, marking the second time this season she has connected at least twice from beyond the arc in the same game. The recently-crowned WNBA Player of the Month finished with 15 points, six rebounds and four steals.
- Jordin Canada tied her season best with seven assists (done twice previously) and collected three steals.
- Facing her former team for the first team since signing as a free agent with the Storm, Shavonte Zellous came off the bench for eight points and four rebounds.
- Alysha Clark fell one rebound shy of her first career double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds. She also dished out a season-high six assists.
- All five Storm starters reached double-digit points for the first time since July 6, 2018 (vs. Atlanta).
- Entering Wednesday, the Storm had played 49 games without back-to-back losses. That streak was the third longest in WNBA history, trailing only Phoenix (51 games 2013-15) and Houston (61 games 1999-01).
NEW YORK HIGHLIGHTS
- Tina Charles nearly outscored the Storm in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 points to Seattle’s 13. She finished with a game-high 26 points. In her last four visits to Seattle, Charles has averaged 26.0 points per game.
- Kia Nurse crossed the 500-career point threshold with her first three-pointer of the game. The second-year player of out of UConn finished with 24 points and was 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
- Nurse scored more points in the first 5:18 vs. the Storm than she finished with in the Liberty’s last contest (6 points at Atlanta).
- Prior to the game, Tanisha Wright was honored as a member of the Storm’s 20thseason anniversary team. Wright finished the game with a season-high 10 points off the bench. The Liberty outscored the Storm by 10 points in the 24:55 that she was on the court.
- Brittany Boyd dished out a game-high 10 assists, marking the second time this season that she has recorded 10+ dimes (12 on 6/15 @ LAS).
The Storm continues its home stand at Alaska Airlines Arena on Friday, July 5 at 7 p.m. PT against the Atlanta Dream.