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Record night keeps Seattle’s playoff hopes alive

Jewell Loyd led the Storm to victory over seventh ranked Dallas Friday night. With the postseason nearing, Seattle is on the hunt for every win possible to secure a spot in the playoffs. With the win, the Storm tied a franchise record 29 assists and shot a record 61.5% from the field.

Joshua Huston - NBAE/Getty Images

SEATTLE, WA -- In their last meeting it was Breanna Stewart who put the moves on Dallas and led Seattle to a win, but tonight’s victory for the Emerald City was in the hands of Jewell Loyd.

Loyd led the Seattle Storm, tying her season high with a 27-point performance as they defeated the Dallas Wings 109-93. On the night Seattle shot a franchise record 61.5% from the field and tied the team’s record for most assists in a game with 29.

“We got off to a good start and took what they gave us,” explained Sue Bird after the game. “We weren’t trying to force anything or overthink anything. We were just playing and with that, we were able to find the open player.”

But it wasn’t just Loyd’s baskets that did the trick. By the end of first quarter, Seattle’s Crystal Langhorne delivered a tricky jump shot from the side of the rim to keep the lead and serve momentum during the next period. Loyd kept the Storm offense booming with a scrappy up and under shot to the basket that heated up halftime with a 15 point lead.

By the third, fans of KeyArena knew a season turnaround was at stake and they kept the floor shaking. Bird launched the ball across the court to Stewart who kept the Storm alive as she reached up and over the defense for a mid-leap bucket. Stewart was right on Loyd’s tail, scoring a whopping 20 on the night. Minutes later, she became the quickest WNBA player to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in 55 career games.

“When things are flowing, no matter what they did, we wanted to punch them again," said Stewart. "When you have a crowd like that, it’s a lot more fun. There’s energy in the building and we thrive off that.”

With less than 40 seconds in the third stanza, Carolyn Swords scored back to back layups to extend the lead to 86-70 for Seattle as they headed into the final period.

It was a team effort. Or, a competitive game of musical “buckets”. Dallas really never had a shot.

"Everybody did their part and everybody pulled their weight whether it shows up in their numbers or not," explained Seattle Head Coach Jenny Boucek. "It’s good to see consistent effort and consistency throughout the game."

To close out the show, Loyd drilled a solid three-pointer with 1:30 left in the game, and there was no chance for the Wings to climb their way back into this one.

Skylar Diggins-Smith was hungry for her seventh straight performance scoring more than 20 points, but in her 6-13 in field goal attempts and a skimpy 18 points scored fell short for Dallas.

"With a team like Seattle that has two All-Stars from this year and (Jewell) Loyd is another player who’s in that mode," explained Dallas Head Coach Fred Williams. "They’re a triple-threat team and they get you with those types of quality players. Defensively, we just have to get over the young mistakes that we’re having. Once we learn all of those things, it’ll all come together.”

The Storm inch toward a winning record as they improve to 10-12 and still have a long ways to go before the postseason. Headed into this matchup, Seattle sat in ninth place and Dallas in seventh. But with tonight’s win, an eighth place finish after the regular season could be feasible indeed.

Seattle faces Dallas again on Aug. 4, but this time on the road. The Storm’s next game is against the Minnesota Lynx on July 30 at 4 pm PST. The Wings play the defending champions Los Angeles Sparks on July 30 at 2 pm PST.