Seattle’s Record Stands at 4-12
Rookies Jewell Loyd and Ramu Tokashiki were the catalysts and the defense took care of the rest for the Storm on Wednesday to beat Los Angeles 68-61.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak and was the third time this season Seattle has beaten the Sparks.
Loyd and Tokashiki got Seattle on top in the third when the 6-foot-3 forward hit a jumper from the wing to make it a one-point game and it was followed with a steal and a fastbreak layup for Loyd to take a 41-40 lead. It was one of 25 turnovers forced by Seattle and two of the team’s 26 points off turnovers. Loyd led the team with 13 points and Tokashiki chipped in with 10.
After a pair of free throws from Alysha Clark gave Seattle a 43-40 lead. Later in the quarter, Los Angeles went on a 6-0 burst with two straight baskets from Erin Phillips to cut the Storm lead to one, but the run was stomped out when Sue Bird found Renee Montgomery in the right corner for a three to push the advantage back to four.
The Storm took its largest lead of the night out of the gates in the fourth when Abby Bishop hit a three to make it a 59-50 game. Both offenses went cold after that but Los Angeles managed to close within five with 4:22 left.
While it was the younger players that got the Storm the lead, it was the veterans that closed it out. Jumpers from Clark, Crystal Langhorne, and one from Bird with 1:31 left put the game out of reach.
Seattle held the Sparks to 30.8 percent shooting in the fourth and forced six turnovers. Nneka Ogwumike, who came in averaging 18.5 points, was held to 12 points and a mere four in the second half.
It was only the second start of the season for Tokashiki and the decision was partially made by Bishop, who she replaced in the lineup.
Seattle returns to action Saturday when it hosts Atlanta at KeyArena at 6 p.m.
Loyd and Tokashiki got the Storm started and scored on back-to-back possessions to tie it up at 12 in the first quarter. But Los Angeles got three straight jumpers from Ogwumike to take a six-point advantage. Aided by a sluggish Storm offense in the second, the Sparks went up by 12 at 31-19. Jantel Lavender was in the middle of the action and scored nine first half points. But then the rookies brought the Storm back. Four points from Tokashiki and a three from Loyd cut the Sparks lead to five and then Montgomery capped the 14-2 run with a three to tie it up at 33.
Loyd and Tokashiki combined for 17 points in the half and scored 11 of the team’s 18 second quarter points. It was the first time the pair had started together.