The Seattle Storm season came to an abrupt end with an 80-85 Overtime Playoff loss to the visiting Phoenix Mercury Sunday afternoon at the Angels of the Winds Arena in Everett. Mercury center Brittney Griner scored a game-high 23 points and Katie Lou Samuelson led the Storm with 18 points
It was always going to be a task ask for the Seattle Storm to take on the visiting Mercury without League MVP candidate Breanna Steward. The Storm gave it their all and the effort served the purpose for four of five quarters. The Storm battled the Mercury but eventually ran out of gas in the overtime period. The Storm scored seven points to the Mercuries 12.
DISMAL FIRST QUARTER
Despite shooting 0-3 from the three-point range the Storm was behind by just seven points. A strong inside presence from Mercedes Russel who had six points to lead the Storm in scoring kept the home side within striking distance. The Mercury had a balanced scoring attack with Brianna Turner, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins – Smith all scoring six apiece.
DEFENSIVE SECOND QUARTER
A commitment to defense saw the Storm hold the Mercury to just nine points in the second quarter. A 15-0 run to close the quarter saw the Storm step into the locker rooms with a 35-32 halftime lead. In the second half, the Mercury swung the ball around the perimeter with urgency forcing the Storm to come out of its zone deficiency and cause isolation mismatches. The strategic adjustment got the Mercury back in the game and saw the third quarter end with the Storm clinging to a one-point lead at 56-55
The fourth quarter saw a competitive battle that had three lead changes and the score tied on five different occasions. Sue Bird scored ten of the Storm’s 17 points while Grinner continued her inside dominance with eight of the Mercury’s 18 points. With both teams determined to continue their season it was no surprise that the teams were deadlocked at 73 and the end of regulation.
The Storm went cold in the overtime period making just seven points and never caught up to the Mercury who scored the first five points in the extra period and never looked back.
- Tied at 78-78 in OT, Phoenix put five straight points on the board to take command as the Storm missed five straight shots.
- The game had 10 lead changes and 12 ties. Of those, seven of these changes and nine of the ties were in the second half and overtime.
KEY STATS OF THE GAME
- The Mercury took just six shots in overtime but hit four of them. The Storm were just 3-of-13.
- All five Mercury starters finished in double figures, led by Brittney Griner’s 23.
- Phoenix had a decided edge on Fastbreak points, 18-2.
- Sue Bird scored 10 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter. She also assisted on another basket.
- Mercedes Russell recorded her third double-double of the season and fourth in her career. This one was 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
- With her 15 points, Jewell Loyd moved up to No. 4 on the Storm’s all-time playoff scoring list. She now has 293, passing Tanisha Wright’s 289.
- Bird’s four makes from 3-point range give her 98 for her career in playoff games. That moved her past Katie Douglas into the No. 4 spot all-time.
- A pair of Mercury players ended the game with double doubles: Brittney Griner (23 points, 12 rebounds) and Brianna Turner (12 points, 12 rebounds)
- Diana Taurasi finished with 14 points after sitting out for six games, including the regular-season finale at Seattle on Sept. 17 and Thursday’s first-round knockout victory against New York.
- Skylar Diggins-Smith has been in the 20-point range in both playoff games. She had 22 against the Liberty and 20 on Sunday against the Storm.