The Seattle Storm improved to 2-0 with a comprehensive 90-66 win over the Minnesota Lynx.
Seattle took control in the third quarter, outscoring Minnesota 28-17.
Breanna Stewart posted her first double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) of the young season. Sue Bird (16 points) was the only other player to score in double figures. Everybody who saw the court for Seattle made at least one field goal to underscore what was a balanced offensive showing.
The Lynx didn’t have that luxury, partially due to injuries. Karima Christmas-Kelly (ankle) and Lexie Brown (head) both left the game before it concluded.
Napheesa Collier, Damiris Dantas and Sylvia Fowles combined for 44 points, but Minnesota’s support beyond that was lacking.
The Seattle Storm took both games in their return home over the weekend, beating the Los Angeles Sparks 84-62 on Friday and then toppling the Indiana Fever 65-61 on Sunday.
Jewell Loyd was the leading scorer on each occasion, going off for 23 points against the Sparks and then 21 against the Fever. Loyd sank the decisive bucket Sunday, laying the ball in with 24.6 seconds remaining to give Seattle a two-point lead.
Natasha Howard strengthened her MVP campaign, posting 20 points and nine rebounds in the win over Los Angeles and following up with 17 points, six boards and four assists in the Storm’s seventh victory of the season.
Alysha Clark and Shavonte Zellous played pivotal roles in Sunday’s game, too. Clark had 11 points and five rebounds, while Zellous had 11 points and three assists in her second start as the Storm’s point guard.
The Seattle Storm are a little over a quarter of the way through the 2019 WNBA regular season, having compiled a 5-4 record through their first nine games.
Seattle’s hopes of successfully defending its 2018 championship appear slim, but the bar for success changed drastically when Breanna Stewart was lost for the year to a ruptured Achilles. Then came Sue Bird’s knee surgery that has delayed her season debut indefinitely.
Forget winning a title; just reaching the playoffs would be an achievement.
The Seattle Storm held on for an 84-82 victory Tuesday night against the Indiana Fever.
A foul on Natalie Achonwa helped decide the outcome as Jewell Loyd made a pair of free throws with 24.4 seconds remaining to put Seattle ahead. Loyd hit another free throw to make it a two-point game with 9.1 seconds left.
Loyd had 18 points, three rebounds four assists and three steals in the win. Mercedes Russell (13 points) and Natasha Howard (26 points) both set career highs in scoring and narrowly missed out on double-doubles, collecting eight and nine rebounds apiece.
Kelsey Mitchell went off for 21 points, while Candice Dupree had a double-double (10 points, 15 rebounds).
The Seattle Storm lost to the Chicago Sky for the second time this season, falling 78-71 on Sunday in Chicago.
The first quarter doomed the Storm as they fell behind 29-13, a deficit that ballooned to 26 points midway through the second quarter. In the second half Seattle looked like it might pull together an improbable comeback, but the gap was too large to overcome.
Jewell Loyd and Natasha Howard each scored 20 points. Jordin Canada had seven points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Cheyenne Parker was the standout performer for the Sky, coming off the bench to post 18 points and 11 rebounds. The Storm did a good job of limiting Allie Quigley’s impact, holding her to four points, while Diamond DeShields was 3-of-11 for seven points.
Offensively, though, Seattle simply wasn’t good enough.
Following an ugly loss to the Minnesota Lynx, the Seattle Storm rebounded with a commanding 82-66 win over the Atlanta Dream on Friday night.
Natasha Howard led all scorers with 19 points and added 14 rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks to an excellent all-around night. Jordin Canada chipped in with 12 points and seven assists, while Jewell Loyd finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and four dimes.
Tiffany Hayes battled foul trouble early on and never found her groove, scoring nine points on 2-of-4 shooting. Renee Montgomery had a night to forget as well, shooting 1-of-6 for three points.
By any number of metrics, the 2018 season was the best of Loyd’s WNBA career. She was an All-Star for the first time and set personal highs in win shares (4.2), win shares per 40 minutes (.164) and net rating (14.1). She also had a .550 true shooting percentage and .501 effective field-goal percentage, both of which were career highs.
The way in which Loyd adapted her game to suit the Storm’s needs was particularly notable.
Loyd’s 24.4 usage rate was her lowest since her rookie year in 2015, and she attempted the fewest shots (12.6) since then as well. Whereas scoring accounted for a large chunk of Loyd’s contributions through her first three seasons, she focused on helping the Storm in other areas of the game in 2018. She averaged 4.6 rebounds—more than a full rebound better than her previous career high—and her defensive rating fell to 97.6 after hitting 104.7 and 103.3 in 2016 and 2017.
The Seattle Storm drew first blood in their 2018 WNBA playoff semifinal series against the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday at KeyArena in Seattle.
Hours after she was named the 2018 WNBA MVP, Breanna Stewart scored 28 points to lead all players. She was particularly deadly from beyond the arc, hitting six of her nine three-pointers.
Jewell Loyd also had 23 points, thus making Seattle 11-0 this season when she eclipses the 20-point mark. Like Stewart, Natasha Howard commemorated her Most Improved Player Award with a big game, scoring 20 points and collecting five rebounds.
For the Mercury, DeWanna Bonner and Diana Taurasi scored 27 and 25 points apiece, but Brittney Griner battled foul trouble for much of the game, thus limiting her impact on the floor. She finished with 13 points and four rebounds.
Game 2 is scheduled for Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET in Seattle.