The Seattle Storm (14-5) defeated the Atlanta Dream (8-9) on the road Friday night, with a final score of 95-86.
For the Storm, Breanna Stewart led all scorers with 29 points, while Sue Bird scored 18 points and dished 10 assists for a double-double. For the Dream, Angel McCoughtry scored 26 points and Tiffany Hayes added 23 more.
Sue Bird isn’t slowing down. The Storm point guard may be longest tenured player in the WNBA right now, but she is in excellent physical shape and still playing very well. Bird’s scoring average is a career low 8.6 points per game, but she is averaging a career high 7.3 assists per game as well. When there are numerous scorers around her, like Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, and Natasha Howard, Bird can just pass all day long.
Still, Bird can call her own number whenever she feels like it. Friday was just one of those nights.
Angel McCoughtry showed her range from deep. McCoughtry was never known as a true three-point threat, and never will be. In fact, she is averaging a career low from deep (19 percent) this season, and that’s after Friday’s game. That said, McCoughtry made three of her four three-point attempts including this four-point play:
Seattle has found its new foundational core. Bird may be the Storm’s franchise player until she retires, but the Storm has made significant changes to their roster to add more young talent in the last several seasons. Loyd and Stewart are Seattle’s first overall picks from 2015 and 2016. Backup point guard Jordin Canada has shown promise, in particular when Bird rests a game. And Natasha Howard has been an excellent free agent pick, averaging a career-high 13.6 points per game and notching a 10-point and 11-rebound double-double earlier this season.
The Storm, like the Lynx. Sparks and Mercury, are one of the WNBA’s marquee franchises who have won multiple WNBA championships. After several rebuilding seasons, head coach Dan Hughes has the Storm’s young core working well with the veterans, like Bird, Howard, and Alysha Clark. It is too early to say whether Seattle is a shoo-in for the WNBA Finals this season. But it is also clear that the Storm i back in contention for a third WNBA championship sooner rather than later.
The Storm’s next game is on Sunday July 8 when they host the Washington Mystics at 7 p.m. EST. The Dream’s next game is also on Sunday, and when they host the Phoenix Mercury at 3 p.m. EST.