Swarming defense by Seattle Storm cools Phoenix Mercury in 83-60 win

The Storms (18-3) stifling defense was too much for the Mercury (13-9) who were held to a mere 24.% shooting average in a last Friday’ loss to the Storm.

The Storm featured six double-digit scorers in the dominant win, and held the Mercury to under 20% shooting for much of the game. Starting for Sue Bird, guard Jordin Canada led the way with 13 points and four assists.

 “We just wanted to attack them offensively,” Mercedes Russell, starting in place of Breanna Stewart, said. “Get as many paint points as we can, get to the free throw line, get our guards going down hill into the paint, and I think we did a pretty good job of that tonight.”

The first quarter was a defensive struggle, with both teams struggling to shoot out of the gate, until a late run from the Storm had them ahead by eight after one frame. Guards Canada and Jewell Loyd led Seattle with 13 points combined, and the Storm’s suffocating defense held the Mercury to less than 40% shooting and just 14 points. 

DOMINANT SECOND QUARTER

The second quarter was nothing short of dominant from the Storm, outscoring the Mercury 28-12. By the half, the Storm were holding Phoenix to 19.4% shooting from the field with just six made shots. Seattle, on the other hand, was able to shoot over 50%, knock down its free throws, and dominate in the paint to build up a 50-26 lead at the break.

 The second half was more of the same. The Storm held the Mercury to just two made shots in the third quarter and continued shooting over 50%, and in the fourth quarter, Seattle retained their large lead throughout.

 “We were trying to take some of [Skylar Diggins-Smith’s] touches away, and same with [Diana] Taurasi and I thought we did a really, really good job of that,” head coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “We shot the ball pretty well, we shot 47% and 41% from three. Any time we shoot the ball in the mid 40s and we defend well, we’re a pretty good ball club.”

Along with Canada, Natasha Howard (12 points), Russell (10 points), Loyd (10 points), Ezi Magbegor (10 points), and Crystal Langhorne (10 points) scored in double figures. 

GAME NOTES

  • The Storm held Phoenix to a season-low 60 points. The Mercury’s previous season-low was in their first meeting with the Storm, where Seattle held them to 68 points.
  • Mercedes Russell made her first start of the season in place of Breanna Stewart, who sat out with a left foot injury. Russell finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds, shooting 50.0%.
  • Jordin Canada led the charge for the Storm with 13 points. Six Storm players scored in double-digits — along with Canada, Natasha Howard added 12 and Russell, Jewell LoydEzi Magbegor, and Crystal Langhorne all added 10. 
  • The Storm got off to a hot start, leading 50-26 at halftime. Out of the half, Seattle kept Phoenix from scoring until 3:41 in the third quarter, stretching the lead to 38 points. 
  • The Storm held Phoenix to shooting only 24.4% from the field. Of the eight Mercury players who took the court, only three made more than one shot. 

PHOENIX HIGHLIGHTS

  • Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored a season-high 24 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the field, with eight made free throws. 
  • Brianna Turner secured double-digit rebounds for the ninth time this season, grabbing 11 to go along with eight points. Turner has pulled down double-digit rebounds in seven of her last nine games. 

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