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The Storm clamp down on defense in the 2nd half, win 69-59 over Washington.

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The Storm play great defense, hold Washington to 20 points in the 2nd half, in route to a 69-59 victory!

The Mystics got off to a strong start against the Storm.  They had several runs in the 1st quarter.  Washington started the game up 8-2 and also went on a 10-0 run to go up 18-9.  The Mystics were the aggressors on both offense and defense in the first period, forcing the Storm into 35% shooting from the floor and leading 22-13 after one.

The 2nd quarter, the Storm did a better job on both sides of the ball; especially on offense.  Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added five points off the bench in the second period.  The Storm continued to struggle from the floor, shooting 10-28 (35%) at the end of the 1st half.  When the shots weren't falling for Seattle, Jewell Loyd started going aggressively to the basket.  Loyd was able to draw several fouls and led the team with 10 points at half time.  Kia Vaughn led the Mystics at half with 10 points, but would be held scoreless the rest of the game.

The Storm had a huge surge in the 3rd quarter and outscored the Washington Mystics 20-9 to take a 50-48 lead into the fourth and final period.  Crystal Langhorne scored six early on in the third to keep the Storm within striking distance.  Then Jewell Loyd continued her aggressiveness, drawing more fouls and getting to the line.  Loyd would knock down a huge jumper late in the third to tie the game at 48-48.  The Storm would head to the 4th with a 50-48 lead.

In the fourth quarter, the Storm would surge ahead a couple times, but Washington kept it close.  Jenna O'Hea was huge in the 4th quarter, she made several free throws.  Got a nice break-away steal that led to a fast break where she drew another foul.  And in what Coach Boucek said was one of the best plays of the game, Jewell Loyd was on an isolation play, drove to the basket and drew in a couple defenders, where Loyd then kicked it out to O'Hea for the open three pointer; which put the Storm up seven with 3:04 remaining in the game.  Seattle would never trail after that.

The Storm had three players in double-figures with Jewell Loyd leading the way with 18 points and five rebounds.  Crystal Langhorne and Sue Bird had 15 and 12 points respectively. 

But ultimately it was the Storm's impressive defense that held Washington to just 20 total points in the second half. 

Storm coach Jenny Boucek had this to say about her team's defense, "I thought we found a pretty good defensive rhythm starting in the second quarter.  And then we continued it through the second half.  The second half, I thought our defense was very good."

The Mystic's coach on the other hand, was much less pleased, "Those were the two worst halves of basketball that we've played all year.  I can't even explain it.  That's as bad as we've played, both in common sense and not sticking with stuff, passing up open shots, fouls ... although 25 to 1 free throws is pretty interesting for a half."

What's most interesting about that is the Storm did outgain the Mystics 34 to nine at the Free Throw Line.  But for most of the 1st half, it seemed like all the calls were going against Seattle.  Both Alysha Clark and Markeisha Gatling got into early foul trouble and had to sit in the second quarter in fear of picking up their fourth fouls.  If was Jewell Loyd's aggressiveness that really got Seattle back into this game and ultimately the victory.

WHAT'S NEXT?:
The Storm host the Tulsa Shock (who just clinched a playoff berth tonight) on Thursday September 3rd, 7:00pm at Key Arena.