Jewell Loyd Scores Game-High 26 Points; Seattle Improves to 2-3
Jewell Loyd scored a game-high 26 points, including 18 in the second half, to guide the Seattle Storm to a 93-81 win over the Connecticut Sun on Saturday at KeyArena. Crystal Langhorne shot 8-for-8 from the field on her way to a season-high 18 points as the Storm (2-3) picked up its first home victory of the season.
Seattle had its best offensive performance of the year on Saturday, setting season highs in points, field goal percentage (56.1 percent), assists (16) and free throws (23). All five Storm starters reached double figures, as Sue Bird added 18 while Breanna Stewart and Alysha Clark each scored 11.
Loyd said post-game, “This home win keeps us motivated and hungry for the rest of the season and gives us a lot of momentum. We’ve been working so hard to protect home floor and to have a game like that happen here where we had stretches and then came back, we had to sustain our energy. I give credit to my teammates for setting me up and setting screens for me.”
Both teams began Saturday’s game with hot shooting, with the Storm starting 8-of-10 from the field led by eight quick points from Langhorne. Seattle made 11 of its 17 field goal attempts in the opening period, while the Sun shot 52.9 percent in the first quarter. The Storm held a 28-20 edge after one period.
In the second quarter, the Storm led by as many as 12 and held an 11-point edge with 2:26 remaining. But turnovers plagued Seattle late in the half – the Storm committed nine total turnovers in the second quarter – allowing Connecticut to cut into its deficit and pull within two by halftime. The Storm held a 39-37 edge at the break behind 10 points from Langhorne after it scored just two points in the final five minutes of the half.
“I was just trying to be aggressive. I was just trying to have the mentality of filling the void of whatever is needed and we know people are going to be loading up on Stewey and Jewell every night so I’m just trying to do my part,” said Langhorne.
The Storm started with a turnover on its first possession of the second half, but proceeded to blitz the Sun with a 21-2 run behind a trio of Loyd jump shots to open up a 60-41 lead midway through the third quarter. Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike went to the bench with three fouls early in the third quarter, when the Storm started to make its run and pull away from Connecticut.
Saturday’s third quarter was the opposite of the previous two games for Seattle. It had averaged 13 points on 25 percent shooting in its last two third quarters, but exploded for 31 points on 9-of-13 from the field against the Sun.
In the final minutes of the fourth quarter, Langhorne and Clark each made crucial three-pointers to prevent Connecticut from making a comeback. For Langhorne, the three-pointer was the final shot of her perfect night and her first basket from beyond the arc since 2014. The veteran forward had made six career three-pointers prior to Saturday.
The Sun was led by point guard Jasmine Thomas, who scored a team-high 17 points.
Seattle next heads on the road to face the Indiana Fever on Wednesday, followed by a pair of home games against Phoenix on Friday and New York on Sunday.