Breanna Stewart scored a game-high 28 points and the Seattle Storm (6-1) cruised to an 88-73 victory over the Indiana Fever (1-8) on Tuesday night at Angel of the Wings Arena in Everett, Wash, giving Noelle Quinn a 1-0 record as a WNBA head coach.
Quinn is the first Black head coach in the Storm’s history.
When asked what she will remember 10 years from now about Tuesday night, Quinn offered the following:
“I will remember Tina Thompson was in the stands to watch me coach my first WNBA game and that’s amazing. A legend in our game. One of my dearest, dearest friends. And for her to make this night even more special by just being here, that was important to me.”
“Noey is as consistent as you’re gonna get in a person and I think she was the same tonight as she has been,” said Seattle point guard and revered vet Sue Bird. “I’m just so happy for (her). Just truly deserving. She puts in the work. She takes time out to better herself as a coach.
To be here for Noey’s first win is something I’m proud to be a part of, especially given that she’s a Black women and the first Black person to be a head coach of this franchise.”
The Storm built a 25-16 lead after one and entered the fourth up nine as well. Jewell Loyd (five assists) added 18 points to the winning cause, while Bird notched 12 points and dished out eight assists. Mercedes Russell hauled in 11 rebounds to go along with her four points.
Teaira McCowan had 12 points and 14 boards in defeat.
Connecticut Sun (7-2) over Las Vegas Aces (5-3), 74-67
With 3:40 to play and her team up five, Sun forward DeWanna Bonner fired a pass to Brionna Jones who was deep in the post. B. Jones fought the ball away from A’ja Wilson as Liz Cambage was coming over to help. She then faked a shot, worked her way around Cambage to the left side of the hoop and made a lefty layup with 3:35 to go.
“I didn’t really think about it,” B. Jones said. “I was just playing within the play. I missed a couple before that so I was definitely focused on finishing.”
“She came up with a big basket,” Sun coach Curt Miller said. “We knew Bri Jones was gonna get some opportunities because they were rotating off of her. She’s just been terrific now this year and last year for us. She’s a huge piece. We had trouble getting her going against Minnesota, not coincidentally we came up a little bit short. She’s so key to what we do and that was a big basket to give us a little bit of breathing room.”
Bonner scored on Connecticut’s next possession to push the lead to nine, which would stand as the largest lead for either side on the evening (matched by the Sun at 49.1 seconds remaining). Vegas went on a 4-0 run after Bonner’s make, so the baskets from B. Jones and Bonner really made the difference.
Jonquel Jones was spectacular again with 23 points, seven rebounds and three blocks to guide the Sun. B. Jones added 14 points and eight boards, while Jasmine Thomas (six assists) and Briann January each recorded 11 points. Bonner finished with just six points but had eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.
The whole game was basically the Sun pulling ahead by a little bit only for the Aces to tie it time after time. It was close throughout, but Vegas was clearly playing catch-up all night.
It should be noted that the Aces did take a two-point lead with 8:38 to play and a one-point lead with 7:33 to play.
“We felt good in the fact that when we executed and were sharp, we got the shots that we wanted,” January said. “Defensively we went through a little period where our activity and aggressiveness went down a little bit. All of that is in our control. We needed to get back to those things. It just took a couple timeouts for us to snap back into it. But the things that we needed to do were completely in our control so we felt confident in that.”
For a stretch it seemed like if the Aces were going to win, it was going to be because of a Liz Cambage takeover. That takeover never fully came to fruition, but Cambage dominated for stretches, finishing with a game-high 28 points to go along with seven rebounds and three blocks.
Before the game, Cambage and Miller hugged and put their quarrel behind them. Miller had been suspended one game for a comment about Cambage’s weight.
“We just apologized to each other,” Miller said. “And she summed it up best: ‘we’re in this together.’ We’re a league that really supports each other, fights for each other. We’re in this together and she summed it up best saying that, as we try to grow this league and grow the fan base. We all really care for each other. As much as we are competitive against each other and want to beat each other, there’s a camaraderie with the players in this league, there’s a mutual respect with the coaches in this league.
It was quick, but there’s a lot of mutual respect between the two of us.”
Dallas Wings (2-4) over Los Angeles Sparks (2-3), 79-69
The Wings snapped their streak of four close losses in a row by defeating the team they beat in their opener. Dallas came back from down five after one, winning the second 22-7. The two teams were even in the second half.
The Wings have been led this year by the phenomenal “Marike” duo (Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale, who were college roommates). However, they are 2-0 when both players score under 20 points and 0-4 when they both score over 20 points.
It was second-year point guard Tyasha Harris who led Dallas in scoring on Tuesday night with 18 points. Kayla Thornton added 15 and seven rebounds, while Ogunbowale was good for 14. Mabrey (seven boards) and Moriah Jefferson (six boards) each had 10 points and six assists.
Kristi Toliver was 4-of-5 from distance with 14 points in defeat. Te’a Cooper added 12 points and four helpers.