Jewell Loyd scored a season-high 31 points as the Seattle Storm increased their lead in the WNBA’s overall standings to three games with a 78-65 victory against the host Connecticut Sun on Friday night.
Former UConn star Sue Bird added 17 points and five assists for Seattle (18-6), which won its third game in a row and its eighth in nine games.
Loyd shot 11-for-15 from the field, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range. She added five rebounds and a game-high four steals. She fell two points shy of her career-high of 33, set last Aug. 27 against Phoenix.
The Storm overcame a rare off night from Breanna Stewart, the league’s leading scorer. The former UConn standout was held to 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting. Stewart did have six rebounds and three assists.
Chiney Ogwumike almost single-handedly kept Connecticut (12-12) in the game with 21 points and 12 rebounds. She was the only Sun player in double-figures for either category.
After trailing 33-29 at the half, the Storm outscored the Sun 23-15 in the third quarter to take a 52-48 lead into the fourth.
The Sun pulled within 54-53 on Shekinna Stricklen’s 3-pointer with 8:27 left, but Loyd made a driving layup and then a 3-pointer to extend the margin to 59-54.
Bird made two 3-pointers to give the Storm a 67-58 lead with 5:03 left.
After Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones made two free throws to cut the margin to 67-60, Seattle used an 11-0 run to pull away. Loyd scored the first eight points of that streak, on two free throws and two 3-pointers.
The Sun started the game hot, taking an 11-4 advantage in the opening 5:08 and leading 15-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Ogwumike had 15 points and eight rebounds by the intermission, as the Sun built a 24-13 edge on the boards.
Stewart was held scoreless in the first quarter and had five points and four rebounds by the half. Loyd scored 11 points in the first half to keep the Storm close, and her jumper with 3:06 left in the second quarter gave Seattle its first lead.
—Field Level Media