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.
The Seattle Storm wrapped up the second half of a back-to-back Tuesday night, defeating the Indiana Fever, 94-79. The Storm notched a 96-80 win over the New York Liberty to start the week.
Breanna Stewart scored a game-high 32 points against the Liberty, the ninth time she has hit the 30-point mark in her WNBA career. She followed up with 17 points, 12 rebounds and four assists against the Fever.
Natasha Howard was excellent in both outings as well, going for 14 points and 10 rebounds Monday and then 19 points and eight rebounds Tuesday.
Likewise, Sue Bird continued to be a model of consistency, totaling 26 points and 15 assists over the two games.
The Seattle Storm picked up another big win Friday against the Connecticut Sun, handing the Sun their third straight loss in an 103-92 victory.
Breanna Stewart nearly had a double-double, scoring 23 points and grabbing nine rebounds, while Natasha Howard had a team-high 25 points. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis also delivered 18 points off the bench to make up for inefficient performances by Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd, who combined to shoot 6-of-25.
Although the Sun only shot 8-of-26 from beyond the arc, they had a lot of success inside. Chiney Ogwumike had 30 points on 13-of-16 shooting, while Jasmine Thomas poured in 29 points.
After laying an egg on offense in their defeat Sunday to the Atlanta Dream, the Seattle Storm exploded for 96 points in a win over the Chicago Sky on Tuesday night.
The Storm erased a 14-point deficit in the second half, the second time this year the Sky blew a 14-point lead over Seattle.
Breanna Stewart had a season-high 30 points to go along with seven rebounds and three blocks. Jewell Loyd and Natasha Howard chipped in with 19 and 15 points, respectively, with Loyd adding five rebounds and five assists to her solid night.
The Seattle Storm had their worst offensive game of the season Sunday against the Atlanta Dream, losing 67-64 at home in KeyArena.
The Storm shot 33.8 percent as a team and connected on just four of their 26 attempts from beyond the arc. Natasha Howard had a double-double (15 points, 15 rebounds), but it was mostly a night to forget for Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd, who combined for 26 points. Stewart played just 19:30 while battling foul trouble.
Tiffany Hayes led all scorers with 23 points, while the Storm mostly held Angel McCoughtry in check, as she shot 6-of-19 for 15 points.
The Seattle Storm earned their biggest win of the season Thursday night against the Los Angeles Sparks, sweeping the Sparks aside 88-63 on the road.
Alysha Clark had a team-high 17 points, while Natasha Howard and Breanna Stewart chipped in with 16 points apiece. Jewell Loyd’s 10 points tied her season low, but that mattered little toward the final result.