Seattle, WA -- It was a tale of two halves Friday in Seattle as the Storm would fall to the visiting Fever by a final of 75-63 in front of 5,726 at Key Arena.
The Storm took advantage of weak Indiana interior defense early as they ran their pick and roll offense to perfection. Seattle would convert 6 of their first eight field goals, all coming in the paint.
For the quarter, Seattle would shoot a blistering 66.7% from the floor and score 16 of their 22 points in the paint. Indiana countered with 52.6% shooting of their own while scoring 14 of their 25 in the paint.
In the second the Storm hot shooting continued as they outscored Indiana 21-12. Utilizing a multi-faceted attack that left the Fever searching for answers, Seattle would uncharacteristically outrebound Indiana 17-9 in the half and finish the first 20 minutes shooting an inconceivable 68% from the floor.
The relentless efficiency of the Seattle attack frustrated Fever star Tamika Catchings to the point that she received a technical for arguing for a call with just 3.1 seconds to play before halftime. Sue Bird would sink the technical free throw to give Seattle a 43-37 lead at the break.
Indiana would not roll over and accept defeat, however. The Fever Locked down defensively holding Seattle to just nine third-quarter points. Making up for their poor early performance on the glass, Indiana would rip down 12 rebounds in the third quarter while Seattle would manage to grab only four.
"Our defensive intensity was there," said Fever head coach Stephanie White. "We got 20 points off of turnovers. We weren’t shooting the ball particularly well and turned up our defense, got some easy shots in transition, but we also got in more of an attack mode on offense."
By the end of the period, The Fever's intensity allowed them to scorch the Storm 30-9 to race to a 67-52 lead entering the final quarter.
The fourth quarter began as a mess controlled by the refs. In total, there would be seven fouls called and eight turnovers committed over the first four minutes with the two teams combining to score just four points. Bird would uncharacteristically miss two fast break layups preventing the Storm from cutting into the sizable Fever advantage.
The only bright spot for either team in the fourth was Jewell Loyd, who tallied seven of her team-high 15 points in the final period. Seattle would outscore Indiana 11-8 in the final 10 minutes, but it would not come close to erasing the Fever lead as Indiana held on to secure the 75-63 road victory.
"I thought we played a good game for three quarters, but we really laid an egg in the third quarter," Storm coach Jenny Boucek lamented after the loss. "Against good teams, which Indiana is a very good team, you just have to have 40 minutes of sustained focus and effort and we had a really bad third quarter."
Indiana had three players reach double digits led by the 16 points and five rebounds of Shenise Johnson. Lynetta Kizer and Catchings added 14 apiece with the former also pulling down five boards.
The Storm, who finished with 19 turnovers and 17 fouls, were led by the 15 of Loyd, who also contributed six boards. Alysha Clark and Ramu Tokashiki would each score nine in the losing effort.