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The Seattle Storm, not the Connecticut Sun, were blistering hot in 98-81 victory.

Seattle rolls over the Connecticut Sun in a dominant victory led by Breanna Stewart.

Breanna Stewart dominated at all facets of the game in the Storm victory.
Breanna Stewart dominated at all facets of the game in the Storm victory.
Neil Enns/Storm Photography

The Seattle Storm had dropped five of their last six games.  That included going 1-3 on a recent four game road trip.  And losing two home games to the two best teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences respectively (New York and Minnesota).  So it was extremely important that Seattle got off to a hot start against the 3-10 Connecticut Sun.  And a hot start was an understatement.  Seattle started the game on a 10-0 run, before the Sun's head coach Curt Miller could call a timeout.  The Storm didn't slow down from there.  In the first five minute of the game, Seattle was up 17-2.  Breanna Stewart had 9 points and was 3-3 from 3 point range.  Alex Bentley got the Sun going on offense with two 3 pointers.  But Seattle would carry a 30-16 lead into the 2nd quarter.

The Storm would struggle early in the 2nd quarter, scoring just three points in the first four minutes of the period.  However, they would quickly heat back up, putting up 26 total points in the quarter (23 in the final 6 minutes).  Breanna Stewart would hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put Seattle up 39-22.  Seattle was on fire from outside the arc in the 2nd quarter.  At one point, the team hit five 3-pointers in a row (Stewart x 2, Loyd, Clark, Bird), which was only interrupted by a pair of Breanna Stewart Free Throws.  Stewie would lead all scorers at half-time with 19 points, including 5-5 from 3-point range.  Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd each had 11 points as Seattle led 56-37 at the half-way point.  The 56 points scored by Seattle in a half was a season high.

The 3rd quarter is when the Sun made their run.  Connecticut would start the 2nd half on a 6-0 running to cut Seattle's lead to 13 at 56-43.  The Sun were led by Kelsey Bone and Alex Bentley during this run.  Seattle would play them dead even the rest of the quarter, but were ultimately outscored 24-18 in the third period.  Breanna Stewart was able to get to the foul line a couple times in the third quarter, to help keep the Sun at a distance.  But the most important play in the 3rd quarter was in the final minute.  Connecticut was having their best quarter of the game by far.  The Sun had cut Seattle's lead down to just 11 at 72-61 and had just forced Seattle into another turnover.  But the Sun weren't able to convert and on the following play, had a pass picked off by Jewell Loyd; who raced down the court for the lay up, to put Seattle up 74-61 heading into the 4th quarter.

Sue Bird talked about the importance of that play after the game:
"Well, in this league you know that's going to happen, right?  Whether you're up twenty it doesn't matter.  Teams are going to make one push, maybe two, but it's going to come at some point.  We have had some situations this year where we've been up and we have let teams come back in and so we really wanted to focus on that and so sometimes it seems like not a big deal, it's just a steal and a lay-up, but it's momentum.  That's what it is.  It's not even about the points, don't get me wrong the points help but it's really about the change of momentum.  They had a little bit going for them so that steal to end the quarter, it settled us a little bit and then we had a really great fourth quarter."

Sue Bird when asked about how effective the offensive system was in tonight's game:
"The way our offense runs, first and foremost, we really want to run.  We really want to get out in transition.  I think in the first half, you really saw that.  We were making a lot of pushes.  That's how we got a ton of open shots.  It wasn't plays.  It was just having numbers, them (Connecticut) having to run back and us finding the open player.  In this room, we have a lot of capable people, so it was good that people stepped up and hit shots.  Like I said, it wasn't really designed that way, you know?  I'm glad it was Stewie who got open all those times.  I mean, who am I to complain?  But it wasn't really a design.  It was just finding the player who was open and getting them the ball on time."

In the 4th quarter, the offense was really flowing well.  Stewie was drawing a lot of attention from the defense and she was able to dish out a few assists on some really impressive reads of the defense.  She created easy baskets for both Crystal Langhorne and Jewell Loyd.  She also had a very impressive steal where the Sun tried to a fast break going and throw the ball up the floor, only to have Stewart run back and snatch the ball out of the air with her long arms.  Tonight was very much so a showcase of Breanna Stewart's talent.  But the reason Seattle won was due to excellent contributions from not only Stewart, but also Loyd, Bird, and Langhorne.  And also because the team emphasized defense throughout practice and limited the Sun from easy points in the paint and wide-open shots. 

Breanna Stewart led the team in scoring and rebounding, 29 points, 9 rebounds; but she also contributed 6 assists, 3 blocked shots and 3 steals.  Sue Bird continued her fantastic season with 19 points on 7-8 shooting, 7 assists (only 1 turnover), 5 rebounds, and two steals.  Jewell Loyd also added 19 points and 5 rebounds.  And Crystal Langhorne was the fourth player in double-figures with 15 points and 3 rebounds.  Ramu Tokashiki also made good contributions off the bench, scoring 8 points in 14 minutes.

After the game, Jewell Loyd spoke to the media:
[On how fun it is when the offense is rolling like it was tonight]
"That's a product of our offense and how unselfish we are as teammates.  When we make the right passes, the right decisions, we have people on this team, you don't want to leave them open, (because) clearly they're able to make their shots.  And when people are in a rhythm, everyone feeds off of that.  Stewie got it going early, then Birdie, then me.  Everyone came in and did what they needed to do.  We feed off of each other and that's what we do here in Seattle."

[What did coach have you guys focus on during this extra week of practice]
"Really just competing.  Finishing plays, boxing out, all about defense really for us.  We know we can score.  Working on not fouling (on defense)."

[On the importance of getting victories at home and protecting home court]
"Yeah, you definitely want to protect your house.  That's the biggest thing.  That's our motive every time we come out.  We really just want to focus on us getting better every game.  And I think we're taking the right steps to do that."

Coaches' Quotes:

Connecticut Sun Coach Curt Miller

[On the game overall]
"I thought Seattle played great - hats off to them.  It was a tremendous start and before we knew it and before we could make adjustments, it was 17-2. Breanna Stewart had missed 16 straight threes at one point this season and she was 5 for 5 ... so you play percentages and those things happen with a player as talented as her."

[On what he told the team when they got down early]
"Well, you can't get it all back at once.  We tried to make adjustments at both ends of the floor, and tried to slow down and get them to see what (Seattle) was doing at both ends of the floor so we can counter it.  Then you challenge them - to play a little bit harder, more together, then see if you can grind little by little back into the game."


Seattle Storm Coach Jenny Boucek
[On focusing on defensive skills at practice]
"That's all we did all week.  So it's ironic that we scored 98 points because we literally did not work on offense, they were on defense the whole week.  I think we still have room for improvement defensively, but I do think we took some steps in the right direction and we hope to build on that."

[What specifically were you focusing on with the defense in practice?]
"You know defense is as much chemistry as offense is.  We just haven't had the chemistry defensively that we would like to have, the synergy we would like to have.  When you have a team that's new together, chemistry and synergy takes times.  It usually takes more time on the offense end than the defensive end.  For whatever reason, we've hardly worked on offense this whole year and this team has really developed an offensive chemistry quickly and the defensive chemistry has come slower."

[On the effective execution of the offense tonight
"This team for sure fits in with what we're trying to do offensively.  We have a real good synchronicity I think amongst our players, between our players and the systems we're trying to run.  And our systems are built to their strengths. That's why we're running these systems."

[How important is it to get that big lead in this game and play the bench more?]
"You know we're trying to just get better every possession.  And do what we do every possession, regardless of who's on the floor.  But we do need to have more people playing; more balance in our minute distribution is something we'd really like."


Key Notes from the Game:
*Four players for the Storm scored 15 or more points in tonight's win.
*Seattle shot a season high 61%, while limiting the Sun to under 38%.
*Doppler accidentally hit the Connecticut Sun players with a t-shirt slingshot.  The Sun's players were not pleased; especially as they were already losing by roughly twenty points. 
*Breanna Stewart has led the team in scoring in 4 straight games and led the team in scoring and rebounding in 3 of those games.
*Sue Bird had a 7 to 1 Assist-to-Turnover ratio in tonight's game.
*All players played at least a couple minutes, except Abby Bishop who is back in Australia competing for a spot on the Australian Olympic team.
*Blake Dietrick scored her first points of her WNBA Career when she got fouled in the final minute of the game and she sunk two Free Throws.