The task was always going to be difficult for the Storm when taking on one of the top offensive teams in the league. The Mystics are averaging 76. 5 points pr game led by the three-headed monster of. Elena Delle Donne (19.8 pts and 7 rebounds,) Shakira Austin ( 13.7 pts, 1.2 assists ), and Ariel Atkins ( 11.5 pts ). The task was made improbable when it was announced WNBA leading scorer Jewell Loyd would be rested due to a nagging foot issue.
As expected the Mystics took the early lead with Elana Delle Donne leading the way 8 first-quarter points. Storm coach Nolle Quinn went with a small lineup. The line-up of Jordan Horston, Ezi Magbegor, Jade Melbourne, and Ivan Djokic moved the ball around on the offensive end of the court and was active on the defensive end. As a result, the Storm stayed competitive and finished the quarter just down three points 19 to 16.
A DIFFERENT QUARTER
The Storm small ball continued to work until Mystics head coach
Eric Thibault decided enough was enough. Thibault countered the Storm lineup with a line-up. Up just four points at 28-24 Thibault inserted Cloud, Atkins, and Donne into the game. The big three were simply too much for the Storm. The Mystics reeled of an 18-8 run to finish the quarter and went into the halftime break with a 46-32 lead.
The Storm continued to scratch and claw their way through the third quarter with some hard-nosed defense that limited the Mystics to just 10 points. Back-to-back baskets by Horston and Magbegor cut the Mystics’ lead to just five points with 2:28 left in the third quarter. The Mystics outscored the Storm 6-3 to finish the quarter and held the lead at 56-48.
UNABLE TO FINISH
One last defensive effort saw the Storm narrow the lead to just six points with 1:56 left in the game at 66-60. Tianna Hawkins stretched the Mystics’ lead to eight after a costly turnover by the Storm. Jade Melbourne cut the lead to seven with a free throw at 1:29. Natasha Cloud grabbed the rebound on the errant second free throw. A Brittney Sykes driving layup sealed the win for the Mystics.
POST GAME NOTES
EY STATS OF THE GAME
- The Mystics outrebounded the Storm 41-30 including a 13-2 edge on the offensive glass. Seattle had not allowed a second-chance point in its last game, but the Storm failed to score any second-chance points tonight while Washington tallied 13.
- Seattle was without leading scorer Jewell Loyd, who was nursing a foot injury. It was just the ninth game she has missed in her career with her 257 games played the second most in the WNBA since 2015.
- Ezi Magbegor scored a career-high 24 points, her fifth-consecutive game in double digits and added three blocks, five rebounds and three assists. Her three blocks marked the fourth-straight game she tallied three or more, joining Lauren Jackson as the only two players in Storm history to block 3+ shots in four consecutive games.
- Jordan Horston had 10 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks. In addition to just missing out on her first career double-double the scored in double-figures for the second-straight game becoming the first rookie to do so since Breanna Stewart in 2016.
- Sami Whitcomb tallied seven points and added three rebounds and three assists. The Aussie made her first start of the season, replacing Loyd in the lineup. History repeated itself for Whitcomb in that way as her first WNBA start came in 2019 when she replaced an injured Loyd in the starting lineup.
- Shakira Austin logged her fifth double-double, scoring 15 points and adding 11 rebounds for the Mystics.
- Elena Delle Donne scored a team-high 15 points, while adding seven rebounds, three assists and a steal.