While not it was not a perfectly played game the Storm’s 72-61 win over the LA Sparks is the type of effort a defensive-minded coach like Noelle Quinn will take any day of the week.
A sluggish start saw the Storm down 4-1 two minutes into the game. Five missed shots and a turnover will place any into an early deficit. The Storm’s perseverance on defense and focus on the boards turned into a 15-4 run over the next six minutes. The Storm’s stifling and tenacious defense limited the Sparks to just four more points for a total of 12 points for the quarter, which is the lowest number scored by a Storm opponent this season.
“I thought our defense set the tone for us. Obviously, not perfect but allowed us to stay in the game. Rebounding, I liked our rebounding and thought we were very attentive to that, “ Quinn said after the game. “ Through the bad turnovers, I thought just the resiliency to stay the course and go get the win on the road.”
In addition to the strong defensive effort, Jewell Loyd had another stellar performance. After scoring just seven points in the first half Loyd lit up the Sparks with 18 second-half points to finish with a game-high 25 points. The Sparks outscored the Storm 17-16 in the second quarter but it was the Storm who led at the break holding a 38 to 29 lead.
SPARKS RALLY FALLS SHORT
Los Angeles made things interesting with a 17-5 scoring run from the 1:26 mark of the third quarter until the 5:32 minute of the fourth. The run brought the Sparks deficit to just one point at 57-56. With her team nursing a one-point lead Loyd scored the Storm’s next nine points. A Nneka Ogwumike three-pointer with 4:33 left in the game brought the Sparks within three points at 62-59. It was the closest the Sparks would come. The Storm defense allowed the Sparks just two more points while the Storm scored another ten to finish the game on a 10-2 run.
KEY STATS OF THE GAME
- Seattle outrebounded its opponent, 45-26.
- The Storm limited the Sparks to just 61 points, the fewest by an opponent this season. Seattle got off to a strong start by holding Los Angeles to 12 points on 27.8% (5-of-18) from the field in the first quarter, the fewest points and lowest shooting percentage by a Storm opponent this season.
- Jewell Loyd scored 25 points, her 17th game with 25+ points, the most by a player this season. She added seven rebounds and seven assists in the game.
- Sami Whitcomb scored 14 points, including a pair of three-pointers, upping her streak of consecutive games with at least one trey to 27, the second longest of her career, and the third-longest active streak in the WNBA.
- Jordan Horston filled her stat line with nine points, eight rebounds, one assist, one block and a pair of steals, all in just 24 minutes of play.
- Kia Nurse scored nine points off the bench including hitting a pair of clutch three-pointers—one of which came from near the midcourt logo as the shot clock expired in the fourth quarter.
- Nneka Ogwumike scored a team-high 11 points after scoring 27 and 22 points in the first games against the Storm this season. She added a team-best seven rebounds along with three assists.
- Loyd moved into second on the WNBA’s all-time single season scoring list with 824 points, and is 36 points shy of Diana Taurasi’s 2006 record of 860. She is also became the fourth player to score 800 points in a season.
- Loyd tallied her 1,000th rebound and 900th assist, making her the 19th player in WNBA history to amass 4,500+ points, 1,000+ rebounds and 900+ assists. She is the second-fastest to reach the milestone at 29 years, 330 days, and in the sixth fewest games at 286.
- Whitcomb became the 15th player to score 1,000 points with the Storm.
- Magbegor’s eight rebounds moved her into second on the Storm’s all-time rebounding list with 293. She also tied Lauren Jackson and Natasha Howard for the second most blocks by a Storm player in a season with 67.
The Storm travel to Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 2, to close out its season series against the Aces at 6pm at Michelob ULTRA Arena. Fans can watch locally on FOX13+ and Amazon Prime Video (stream), and nationally on NBA TV.
- Mariners prepare for series they dare not lose in Texas
- Seahawks looking to build but not dwell in win over Lions
- Mariners close in on AL West summit after 7-2 win in Oakland
- Mariners get desperately-needed win in Oakland
- Awards pilling up for Michael Penix Jr.