After several runs from Phoenix, it looked like the game was going to completely get away from Seattle, but a strong fourth quarter push from the younger half of the team cut the lead to single digits and gave a potential glimpse of things to come in the 70-60 loss on Sunday.
It nearly turned into a mirror image of the Friday’s game against Phoenix. With the Storm trailing by 14 at the half, Seattle quickly cut the lead to single digits on a deep three from Renee Montgomery and a bucket from Ramu Tokashiki to cut the Phoenix advantage to nine.
Two straight baskets from Phoenix pushed it back to 13, but then Jewell Loyd pulled up for three and hit to bring it back to 10. Later in the quarter, Phoenix extended the lead back to 13 and Loyd drilled another three. She scored 10 of her team-high 16 points in the third.
Despite the efforts of Loyd, the Mercury extended the lead and it was in large part due to Brittney Griner. She scored 15 points and hit all but one of her seven shots in the period as Phoenix took a 17-point lead into the fourth. Griner finished with 26 on the afternoon.
But Seattle did not go away and it was led by the group of Loyd, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Angel Goodrich, Markeisha Gatling, and Tokashiki, none of whom have more than three years of WNBA experience.
With Phoenix up 68-53, Gatling showed some range and hit a jumper from 18-feet out to cut it to 13. On the following possession, Mosqueda-Lewis came off a screen and caught the pass from Tokashiki to hit her third three of the quarter.
After a timeout, Goodrich found Tokashiki for the jumper and brought it to a 68-60 game with 1:18 to go. Goodrich had a game-high eight assists. Seattle would get no closer but the youthful unit forced eight Phoenix turnovers in the quarter and scored nine points off the miscues.
The Storm will have three days in-between games, facing Los Angeles on Wednesday at KeyArena. This three-day gap between games will serve as a much-needed break for the team, who has not had a three-day break between games since June 16.
With the game tied at eight, the Storm swung the ball around and Crystal Langhorne drive to basket and kicked to Renee Montgomery for the three to take an 11-8 lead with 5:19 in the period. Much like it did on Friday, Phoenix answered the Seattle push with one of its own and went on a 7-0 run, capped by a Leilani Mitchell three, to go ahead 15-11.
In the second quarter with Phoenix up 26-17, Goodrich ran the pick and roll with Quanitra Hollingsworth and found her for the layup. On the next possession, Goodrich took it herself to the basket and hit the layup to cut the Phoenix lead to seven.
The Mercury pushed back with an 8-2 run to go up 36-23 and Loyd provided a spark to keep Seattle close. On consecutive possessions, she hit a jumper, found Gatling for the layup, and hit a step back jumper to pull the Storm within nine.