The Seattle Storm sent a message to all the WNBA General Managers who anointed the Aces as the best team in the league. Mind you that designation was made before a single basketball had hit the hardwood. Once the ball hit the hardwood it was Breanna Stewart who scored a game-high 28 points to remind one and all that they are still the team to beat.
VEGAS HOT START
The first foul of the game was on Breanna Steward less than a minute into the game and the Storm was called for another early foul thirty seconds later Vegas got another foul and rattled off a quick 7-0 run. The Storm did not panic Sue Bird found Candice Dupree to break the 7-0 run. Dupree followed up on her own rebound and narrowed the Aces lead to 7-4. The Aces continued to move the ball up court and lead 22-14 with 3:02 left in the first. The Storm went on a 11-2 and ended the first quarter with a 27-26 lead.
SOLID SECOND QUARTER
In the second quarter, Seattle’s stars reigned as they dominated 22-14, with guard Sue Bird hitting back-to-back threes. The Storm finished the half up 49-40 on Las Vegas, with forward Stewart leading scoring with 10 points.
The Storm came out of the dressing room shooting lights out reeling a 9-0 run that saw the lead balloon to 19 points on a Katie Lou Samuelson basket with 6:53 left in the 3rd and a 40-59 Storm lead. The Aces stayed in the game with a 8-2 run that cut the lead to 48-61 on Ajay Wilson’s bucket with 4:41 left in the quarter. Stephanie Talbot’s three-pointer snapped the Aces momentum and a Jewell Loyd steal that turned into two free throws saw the Storm regain their composure at 49- 66.
The teams traded baskets the rest of the way and the third quarter ended with the Storm leading 57-72. Las Vegas opened the fourth quarter with four straight and outscored Seattle 26-25 in the frame, but the Storm held on to the double-digit lead for the win.
- The Storm trailed by as many as nine in the first quarter and was down 22-14 at the 3:02 mark before an 11-2 run gave Seattle its first lead just before the end of the period. Ezi Magbegor had five of her seven points during that run while Jewell Loyd added four points.
- The Storm outrebounded the Aces 44-33, with Breanna Stewart pulling down 13 rebounds for Seattle. Stewart had 18 rebounds against Las Vegas in a 2020 regular-season game (8-20-20) and had 15 boards against the Aces to go along with 35 points in Game 1 of the 2020 WNBA Finals.
- Seattle shot 50.7% from the field (37-of-73) and made 12-of-27 (44.4%) from three-point range. Including the playoffs, the Storm shot 50% or better 12 times last year, going 12-0 in those games.
- With the victory, Seattle is 1-0 in the Commissioner’s Cup Western Conference standings and improves to 45-35 against Las Vegas all-time.
KEY STATS OF THE GAME
- Stewart scored a game-high 28 points and had 13 rebounds for her 36th career double-double.
- The Storm outscored the Aces 32-10 over a 10-minute span from the first quarter to the second quarter, turning a 22-14 deficit into a 46-32 lead with 3:02 left before the half.
- With her first basket of the game, Sue Bird passed Lisa Leslie and is now the seventh all-time scorer in WNBA history (6,273 points).
- Including the playoffs, Stewart has scored in double-digits in 18-consecutive games and has tallied 20+ points in 11 of her last 14.
- Sue Bird left the game briefly after making knee-to-knee contact in the fourth quarter, but returned to the game and hit her third three-pointer a few minutes later.
- With the win, Seattle has now won its last four-straight against the Aces, including the Finals.
LAS VEGAS HIGHLIGHTS
- A’ja Wilson, the reigning MVP, led the Aces with 24 points, scoring 12 in the first quarter of the game.
- Liz Cambage scored 16 points with five rebounds in 19 minutes of action
- Aces point guard Kelsey Plum came off the bench to play a WNBA game for the first time since 2019 after sitting out 2020 due to a left Achilles surgery. Back in the city of her alma-mater University of Washington, she ended the game with 11 points and four assists in 26 minutes.