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Storm use Lauren Jackson's mystique to dominate the Washington Mystics, 80-51.

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Seattle used a standout performance by Jewell Loyd and a raucous sold out home crowd to beat the Washington Mystics on Friday night.

The Storm dominate the Mystics on Lauren Jackson's special night.
The Storm dominate the Mystics on Lauren Jackson's special night.
Neil Enns/Storm Photography

Friday night the Storm would play host to the Washington Mystics.  But this night was so much more than just another game for Seattle's WNBA franchise.  They were honoring Storm legend, Lauren Jackson by retiring her jersey.  The first player in the franchise's 17 year history to be given that honor.  All game long, the Storm played video clips of former coaches and teammates and other WNBA players praising Jackson.  And rightfully so, she is arguably the greatest woman's basketball player to ever play the game.  A three time MVP, two time WNBA champion, three time scoring champion, seven time WNBA All-Star, and the list goes on and on.  That also doesn't even factor in her dominance in her home country of Australia.

So on a night in Seattle that was all about Seattle's most dominant athlete, nothing was going to stop the Storm.  I honestly don't believe any WNBA team (outside of maybe the Sparks) could have come into KeyArena and beaten Seattle on Friday night.  As it was, the Washington Mystics who had been struggling as of late (losers of four straight heading into Friday's game), honestly stood no chance.  Not on LJ's special night.

Seattle got out to a dominate lead and were up 26-15 after the first quarter.  The Storm were led by Jewell Loyd who was aggressive from the get-go.  Doing some Kobe-esque maneuvers on her way to 14 first quarter points.

The Washington Mystics could absolutely not buy a basket.  They built multiple houses with all of their bricks.  They shot just 29% from the floor.  And in the 2nd quarter they could only muster eight points.  The Storm played with lots of defensive energy and a sold out crowd was really making life difficult for the players on the Mystics.  Seattle would hold a 41-23 advantage at half-time.

Seattle would continue their domination in the second half.  Out-scoring the Mystics 24-19 in the 3rd quarter.  And 15-9 in the fourth and final period.  Seattle held the Washington Mystics to a season low 51 points.

The Storm were led by last year's Rookie of the Year, Jewell Loyd.  Loyd had 26 points, three assists and two steals.  Sue Bird got out of her mini-scoring slump with 12 point and seven assists.  Interestingly enough, on Lauren Jackson's special night, Breanna Stewart struggled from the floor.  Maybe it was nerves trying to impress a player she has been compared to often.  Or maybe she just had an off night.  As always, even when Stewart isn't scoring a ton (only 10 points), she still contributed in several other ways.  She led the team in assists with eight and also pulled down seven rebounds.  Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis continued her strong play off the bench with 12 points and four rebounds.  She continues to be a real bright spot in the 2nd half of the season.

After the game, the Storm put on a really wonderful post-game ceremony to honor Lauren Jackson.  Besides the video clips paying tribute to Lauren that were shown throughout the game earlier.  They also had guest speakers.  Former President and CEO Karen Bryant gave a wonderful speech.  Head Coach Jenny Boucek also gave a great speech.  And a funny line about how LJ got pissed off and was cussing at Jenny's father because he hid Lauren's Easter basket.  But it was truly fitting that Sue Bird would be the last person to honor Jackson.  And did she ever.  Sue is so good on the mic and in interviews, it was no surprise that she absolutely killed it.  She had the fans laughing and crying.  I have no problem admitting, that I teared up seeing Sue start to cry as she told Lauren she wished she could still be playing together with her in Seattle.  It broke my heart and everyone else's in the arena.  Because we all know how truly special this due has been to Seattle basketball.

After the game Sue Bird was asked about the importance of getting a big win, before Lauren's retirement ceremony.  Bird said, "Important isn't the right word, I would say it was symbolic.  It was a good mood-setter and definitely the icing on the cake.  I was just talking to Jewell in a more serious moment and told her 'Great job today, you had awesome composure' and she responded with 'Yeah, I guess Lauren brought it out of me'.  Everyone understood what this day was and the building was packed so there was a lot of energy.  All in all you couldn't have asked for a better night."

And when asked about the emotions of talking about Lauren, Bird said, "I'm not at all surprised I was emotional.  I knew I would be okay through most of it but I knew the end was going to get me.  I really do wish she was still playing with me, so there's always that part of it too.  I watch movies and cry, so it's not that surprising that I was so emotional.  This is very close to home."

Coach Jenny Boucek added about the great crowd, "It felt like the good old days.  This was big.  We talked about it before the game, not trying to negate this.  There are some attributes of Lauren that this team needs and are important to have.  We wanted to enjoy this crowd and show them the new brand of basketball that still has Lauren and Sue written all over it.  It's a style that they both thrived in.  We have similar players that are enjoying that.  To have a packed house, have people involved that haven't been here for a while, it just felt like the good old days.  When Lauren comes around, everybody's shoulders go back."

It was a truly special night, for a truly special player.  #ThankYouLJ