Breanna Stewart turned in her most complete performance of the season on Monday night with 25 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals as her Seattle Storm defeated the Chicago Sky 89-71 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
With the win, the Storm (7-1) remain alone in first place.
If the Sky (5-3) had won, the two teams would be tied at 6-2 right now and the Sky would have the head-to-head tiebreaker for the top spot.
Stewart’s performance was complemented by Sami Whitcomb’s 17 points off the bench. Whitcomb went 3-of-3 from downtown, dished out six assists and had four steals. Seattle’s 17 steals as a team compared to Chicago’s eight was a key factor in the contest.
Seattle’s Alysha Clark was 2-of-2 from distance and scored 12 points for the game, while 20-year-old rookie Ezi Magbegor contributed 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.
Chicago’s Courtney Vandersloot had a quiet night in the scoring column: just four points. But with nine assists and veteran leadership, she did her best to get her team fired up throughout the game. One such instance came with 5:50 left in the third quarter after a Ruthy Hebard layup and foul drawn. Hebard’s ensuing free throw cut Seattle’s lead to 52-40 and it appeared Chicago had a chance to get back into the game.
The Sky went on to cut the lead to eight three times in the remainder of the third, but a Breanna Stewart 3-point make over the outstretched arms of both Azurá Stevens and Hebard broke the Sky’s back with two minutes left in the frame. The Storm led by at least 11 the rest of the way.
Allie Quigley led Chicago scorers with 13 points in defeat, while Cheyenne Parker, Kahleah Copper, Hebard and Stevens were all in double figures as well.
The Sky will take on the Phoenix Mercury in a battle of 5-3 teams on Wednesday — Chicago lost to Phoenix by 10 points on Aug. 6. The Storm take on the Atlanta Dream later Wednesday night — Seattle just barely sneaked past Atlanta on the same date.
Monday’s other action
Connecticut Sun claim victory over Atlanta Dream 93-82 behind Alyssa Thomas’ big night
The Sun (2-6) received 21 points from Thomas, who also had seven boards, in Connecticut’s second win of the season. Atlanta rookie Chennedy Carter played just three minutes before exiting the contest due to an ankle injury. The Dream fell to 2-6.
Two-thirds of Phoenix Mercury’s big three was enough for the team to cruise past Dallas Wings 91-79
Without the services of one of their best players, Diana Taurasi, who is nursing the back injury she sustained on Saturday, the Mercury (5-3) were guided by Skylar Diggins-Smith’s 26 points and seven assists and Brittney Griner’s 22 points and 13 rebounds. Arike Ogunbowale, Allisha Gray and Satou Sabally all had solid performances in defeat as Dallas fell to 3-5.