(Bradenton, FL) – A sign of a very good team is the ability to win in a variety of ways. The Storm have proven they can do that this season. It’s a big reason Seattle sits atop the WNBA standings with a 14-3 record.
Seattle’s offense was putrid, shooting below 39% for the game (24-62). Thankfully, they did a tremendous job in other facets of the game. The Storm outrebounded the Mystics 43-25. They also got to the foul line significantly more, going 18-22 from the charity stripe while the Mystics went just five times (5-5). Lastly, Seattle’s calling card all season has been their defensive intensity. The Storm held Washington to just 38% field goal shooting (26-69). And just 26% from three-point range (7-27). A stark contrast from the first game where the Mystics shot 47% from beyond the arc and drained 15 threes. I did not believe that performance would be easily duplicated and it was not. Seattle held Washington to 25 points below their point total from the first game between these two squads.
Breanna Stewart had one of the worst shooting games of her WNBA career, going 4-17 from the floor in this game. But the great players always find a way to succeed. Despite the shooting woes, Stewart finished the game with a team-high 16 points and 14 rebounds. She also held Myisha Hines-Allen in check on the defensive end, holding the Mystics’ leading scorer to just two points in this game.
Natasha Howard, on her birthday, also had another strong game scoring 13 points and 9 rebounds, including five offensive boards that played a big role in Seattle getting more scoring opportunities. When the outcome of a game is in the single digits, those extra effort plays by Howard go a long way. Seattle had a 13-2 edge on 2nd chance points. Howard also earned her 1,000 career rebound in this game!
Jewell Loyd was the only other Storm player to score in double figures in this low scoring game. Loyd had 13 points, eight of which came in the first quarter alone as she helped Seattle get off to a hot start.
The Mystics were led in scoring by Emma Meesseman who had 17 points. Only two other players scored in double figures with Jacki Gemelos and former Storm 1st round pick Tianna Hawkins netting 10 apiece. Seattle did an incredible job defensively on Ariel Atkins (9 points) and Myisha Hines-Allen (2 points) limiting those two to just 11 points in this game. Those two scored a combined 39 points (22 for Atkins and 17 for Hines-Allen) in the first match up.
Around the W
The Minnesota Lynx (12-5) got an important victory over the Chicago Sky (11-7) by a final score of 86-83. Minnesota has now swept the season series against Chicago thanks to an 83-81 victory near the beginning of the season. Despite being 1.5 games up on Chicago in the standings; by owning the tiebreaker Minnesota now holds a 2.5 game lead over Chicago for the important 4th overall seed. Chicago now has just four games left on their schedule to try and make up that ground. The 3rd and 4th seeds get an automatic bye in the first round of the playoffs and only have to play one single-elimination game instead of two.
Damiris Dantas scored a career-high 28 points to lead the Minnesota Lynx. Rookies Crystal Dangerfield (15 points, 7 assists) and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (10 points) were the only other players to score in double figures for the Lynx.
The Chicago Sky had four players score in double figures led by Allie Quigley’s 23 points. Cheyenne Parker had a monster game with 20 points and 15 rebounds off the bench. Courtney Vandersloot also had another double-double with 13 points and 12 assists. Kahleah Copper added 10 points and six rebounds for Chicago in a losing effort.
It should be noted that former Seattle Storm player, Allie Quigley, is now the Sky’s All-Time leader in points scored with 3,002. She has surpassed Sylvia Fowles for the number one spot in Chicago Sky history.
It’s been quite the week for the married couple, as Courtney Vandersloot also set a new WNBA record with 18 assists in a single game earlier this week.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Sparks (13-4) got a nice 91-83 win over the Dallas Wings (6-11). The victory for Los Angeles combined with Las Vegas’ loss to Phoenix on Tuesday means the Sparks have now climbed back into the 2nd overall seed in the WNBA standings.
Candace Parker led all scorers with 22 points. She also had 10 rebounds and six assists. Brittney Sykes scored 19 points, while Chelsea Gray had 16 points and 8 rebounds. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored 10 points as the only other player to score in double figures.
Dallas, who is clinging to the 8th and final playoff spot, was led by the 17 points and five assists of Arike Ogunbowale. Satou Sabally is making a late case for Rookie of the Year discussion with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Wings had five players score in double figures with the others being Allisha Gray (16 pts), Marina Mabrey (13 pts), and Kayla Thorton (11 pts, 7 rebs).
The Seattle Storm (14-3) will face off against the Los Angeles Sparks (13-4) in a hugely critical game on Friday, September 4th at 7:00 PM PST. It is such an important game for the Storm because a win against Los Angeles would go a long way in securing the double-bye into the Semi-Finals of the WNBA Playoffs. Seattle has already beaten Los Angeles once this season. If the Storm were to win again on Friday they would be two games up on the Los Angeles Spark, but also own the tiebreaker so essentially three games up on LA with four games to play. Conversely, if LA were to beat Seattle, both teams would be tied for 1st place at 14-4.
If you’re looking for more Seattle Storm coverage, including full interviews from Coach Gary Kloppenburg and players, quarter by quarter breakdown and more on the return of Sue Bird, make sure to check out the Complete Edition at the link below!