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Loyd leads the Storm past the San Antonio Stars!

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The Storm win a back-and-forth game over the San Antonio Silver Stars. Jewell Loyd leads the way with 18 points.

Neil Enns

Not even an arena power-outage was enough to turn the lights out on Seattle's star rookie Jewell Loyd, as she did a little bit of everything to lead the Storm past the San Antonio Stars 72-63.  In what was a very low scoring game between the two teams with the worst records in the WNBA, it was the Seattle Storm players that were able to make the clutch plays to secure the victory.  Neither team would score 20 points or more in a quarter in tonight's game.  But it was the Storm's impressive 3rd quarter where they really started to break the game open.  Whether it was an extra boost from the extended half-time break or something else, the Storm were clicking on all cylinders in the 3rd quarter and jumped out to a ten point lead (51-41) with 1:18 left to play in the quarter.

The game didn't start off as well for Seattle.  Before people had a chance to sit down, Kayla McBride of the Stars had already nailed three 3-pointers.  McBride led all scorers at half-time with 17 points, and nearly half of the Stars entire first half points (35).  But the Storm's defense would really clamp down on her; only allowing McBride to score two points in the entire 2nd half.  Jia Perkins who had a season-high 32 points against the Storm in San Antonio on August 8th, was held to just 11 points tonight.

For Seattle, it was #1 overall pick Jewell Loyd, who led the Storm in scoring with 18 points for the game.  It was Loyd who scored 8 of the Storm's first 13 points in the 3rd quarter, when Seattle pushed their lead over the Stars to ten.  Loyd had a strong game overall, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists as well.  She also made two incredible plays late in the 4th quarter.  With time running out on the shot clock and just over one minute to play in the game, Alysha Clark was forced to throw up a shot, that was partially blocked.  Loyd leaped into the air, caught the ball and attempted to put the ball back in with a reverse layup.  Jewell missed the shot, but she hit the rim and that allowed Ramu Tokashiki to get the rebound and reset the shot clock with the Storm leading by two with just one minute left in the game.  The Storm would call a timeout and on that same possession, Sue Bird would nail a clutch 3-pointer (the only one the Storm would make all night) to put Seattle up five, 68-63.  A couple plays later, Jewell hustled to the floor on a loose ball and forced a jump ball.  She then out-jumped the Stars' 6'4" Center Jayne Appel and tipped the ball to Ramu Tokashiki, securing the Storm's victory with under thirty seconds to play.

After the game, Sue Bird had this to say about her young co-star "Jewell was definitely, definitely on point.  Whether it be having to guard one of the better players on their team. On offense, really being the aggressor for us.  If I had to pick a play that was probably the most important for us, it was when she tried to do that reverse layup, but by hitting the rim it got us a new shot clock, we were able to get the rebound.  I mean that was a big possession."

During the coaches interview after the game, Coach Jenny Boucek was asked about the difference from closing out games now compared to earlier in the season when the team struggled.  Boucek said "We've had many close games that we just didn't close collectively.  But tonight we were able to do that.  So I hope and I'm optimistic that that's a sign of us growing.  And you're seeing lots of different signs of growth, I think, individually and collectively and that's been our objective from the beginning."

Japanese Star Ramu Tokashiki had another very strong game.  She was all over the glass tonight and collected nine rebounds to lead the team.  Tok was also tied for second in scoring with 13 points this evening.  Sue Bird also had 13 points and dished out five assists.  And Alysha Clark hit clutch baskets late in the fourth, scoring six of her nine points in the final frame.  Clark also was the key defender in limiting Kayla McBride to just two points in the second half.

WHAT'S NEXT?:
After playing four games in six nights, the Storm get a little rest and will return home to host the Indiana Fever on Friday August 21st at 7:00pm.