clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Loyd and Langhorne lead the Storm past the Sun, 93-81.

New, comments

Seattle gets its first home win of the season, as they use a balanced attack to take down the Connecticut Sun.

After coming off her worst game of the season on Thursday night against the Washington Mystics, Jewell Loyd bounced back with a vengeance tonight against the Connecticut Sun.  Loyd led all scorers tonight with 26 points on 9-17 shooting; including 3-6 from three point range.  The second year pro out of Notre Dame has greatly improved from last season, when she won Rookie of the Year.  Loyd has scored in double figures in 4 of the first 5 games to start the season.  Loyd is currently averaging 19.8 points per game, that's good for fifth best in the entire WNBA, behind Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, and Tina Charles.  At nearly twenty points a game, Loyd has nearly doubled her rookie season stats, where she averaged 10.7 PPG.

After the game, Loyd spoke about her performance and the importance of getting that first win at home this season:
"It means a lot.  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."

But Loyd wasn't alone tonight.  The Storm used a balanced attack where all five starters scored in double-figures.  The first time that has ever happened for the franchise.  Besides Loyd's 26, Crystal Langhorne played her best game of the season by far, with 18 points; where she also went a perfect 8-8 from the floor.  Langhorne also led Seattle in rebounding with eight, including four offensive boards.  Sue Bird chipped in with 14 points to continue her strong play this year, since the stinker down in Los Angeles to start the season.  Bird would also add five assists which was tied for the team lead with Jewell Loyd.  Rounding out the balanced scoring was Breanna Stewart and Alysha Clark who each added eleven.  While it was statistically Stewart's worst game of her WNBA career, she still pitched in 11 points, five rebounds and she led all players with three blocked shots.

Both teams were on fire to start the game.  Both teams were shooting around 70% a good way into the first quarter.  Crystal Langhorne led the team with 10 points after one; including 5-5 from the floor.  Kelsey Bone played well for the Connecticut Sun early; despite not having a great shooting night.  Bone had seven points in the first quarter.  But the Storm shot well and led 28-20 after one period of play.

Unfortunately, the second quarter would be filled with turnovers.  Seattle would have nine turnovers in the second period.  The Storm were up twelve early in the 2nd quarter and would carry a ten point lead throughout most of the period.  But several unforced turnovers would allow the Connecticut Sun to rally with a 9-0 run to end the half; cutting Seattle's lead to just two, 39-37.

The past two games the Storm have struggled mightily in the third period.  In both the game against the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics, the Storm would only score two points in the first six-to-seven minutes of the third quarter.  Tonight, was a much different store.  The Storm would put up 31 points in the quarter, including a 21-2 run after half-time.  This pushed the Storm's lead to 60-41.  Jewell Loyd led the way knocking down some a couple three point shots and getting a beautiful fast-break layup on a dime by Sue Bird.  Also notable in the 3rd period was that Abby Bishop got to see some playing time.  This was Bishop's first time out on the court since the season opener .  She had remained on the bench for the past three games.  Abby came in and gave the Storm a little boost off the bench, scoring four points in five minutes of play.  The Storm would head into the fourth quarter, up 70-60.

The Connecticut Sun would make a run in the forth quarter.  They kept within striking distance for most of the quarter.  But it was the long-ball that really helped Seattle put away the Sun tonight.  Crystal Langhorne finished her perfect 8-8 from the floor night, by knocking down a three pointer with about two minutes left to play in the game and putting the Storm up 86-76.  Alysha Clark would nail another three pointer with just one minute left to play, putting the Storm up twelve, 91-79.  Jewell Loyd would add in seven more points in the forth, for a total of 18 second-half points in tonight's game.

After the game, Connecticut Coach Curt Miller talked about the game, "Well, it was 39-39 and (Seattle) went on a 21-2 run and the next time you looked up it was 60-41.  During that run, I felt like we lost our composure and we didn't execute at either end.  That was the big run of the game.  It was very frustrating.  During that run, we couldn't get a call.  I read in the media that Jenny (Boucek) complained about officials after one of their losses and she seemed to get a lot of calls tonight.  Maybe I should complain.  We grinded back and got it to single digits, but just couldn't make enough plays down the stretch.  I'm proud of our group for grinding back and I was really pleased with the bench play.  We neutralized their bench, but their starters had really good nights."

Storm Coach Jenny Boucek, had this to say about the important of a win like this for her young team:
"It's always fun to win but we will always focus on playing to our potential.  We are going to go break down this film and they will get more feedback than they are expecting.  It's still more fun after a game because it's our goal to get better after every game regardless of the results.  We want to learn from what just happened.  I know there is a lot to be learned from this game.  We will keep trying to learn from it, but it helps a young team to get some wins every now and then to reinforce what we're doing and how we're doing it.  It's good for the morality, no doubt about it.

Young teams are notorious for struggling to finish games.  You can look at team after team.  Putting yourself in position to win games is the final steps and then it's a huge next step to figure out collectively how to close games and we have a long way to go, but I'm happy that we did close out this one."

Key Notes from tonight's game:
This was the first time ever the Storm had all five starters in double-figures.
The Storm scored a season high 93 points in tonight's win.
The Connecticut bench outscored the Storm's bench 37-13.
Both team's combined for 31 turnovers (Seattle had 18).