Seattle, WA -- In a night that would see the power go out in the arena and a celebrity couple cheer from courtside seats, Jewell Loyd led the Seattle Storm to a much needed 72-63 victory over the San Antonio Stars Sunday at Key Arena.
The first half defined a back and forth battle as neither team led by more than five. In total, there were six ties and 13 lead changes over the first 20 minutes of action.
Seattle used a balanced attack in which eight players scored to counteract the first half brilliance of San Antonio's star guard Kayla McBride, who poured in 17 of her game high 19 points in just under 17 first half minutes.
"It was pretty even in the first half," said McBride. "We came pretty aggressively and kind of did what we wanted to do on their bigs."
The Storm shot the lights out in the first half hitting 46.6% from the floor. The performance literally caused the power in Key Arena to go out at halftime.
In the third, Seattle would ferociously attack San Antonio. Led by an outstanding performance from Jewell Loyd, who put on a dazzling display with two major celebrities in attendance: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his girlfriend, singer/entertainer Ciara. The Storm would outscore San Antonio 19-10 in the period, to take an eight-point lead into the final 10 minutes.
"It’s definitely a team effort," Loyd commented. "We won this one, we came down had great veterans who have been in this position before and their motivation and their leadership helped us finish this game."
The fourth would see the Stars answer, getting off to a 10-2 run to tie the game at 55 with just under 6 minutes to go forcing a Seattle timeout.
Seattle would respond, outscoring the Stars 17-8 the rest of the way. Sue Bird would hit a dagger three with less than 40 seconds to go to put the game out of reach.
"[B]asketball is definitely a game of runs, people getting in flows. You can’t let the play before affect the next one," said Bird after the victory. "You just got to play through it. I think at the end on defense we did a great job of shutting them down. They got some scores now and then but for the most part in the last couple of minutes, the stops allowed us to build a lead."
Three Storm players scored in double figures led by Loyd with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists. Bird and Tokashiki each added 13 with Bird adding five assists and Tokshiki adding nine rebounds.
Four Stars reached double figures in the losing effort led by the 19 of McBride. The other San Antonio players reaching double digits were Jayne Appel with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Jia Perkins and Danielle Robinson each added 11.