Some players are really fun to watch because of their illy moves. Others are among the best players in the world.
Could the Gold Mamba be both?
Jewell Loyd hit a high-arching catch-and-shoot shot from a good five feet beyond the 3-point arc at the buzzer on Friday night to give the Seattle Storm a 105-102 overtime victory over the Dallas Wings at Angel of the Wings Arena in Everett, Wash.
The bucket came off an inbounds with 0.8 seconds remaining. Loyd started on the low block, set a screen under the basket and then ran out to the top of the arc for a straightaway look. All this after a defensive stand by Seattle that ended with Sue Bird successfully defending and not fouling Moriah Jefferson on a drive to the basket.
Loyd’s super-efficient night ended with her going 8-of-11 from the field, 4-of-6 from 3-point range and 5-of-5 from the free throw line for a game-high 25 points. She also dished out seven assists and made the game-tying layup off a baseline drive with 38.7 seconds to go. She is averaging career bests with 20.1 points (sixth in the WNBA), 5.1 assists (sixth) and 1.6 steals (ninth). Her field goal percentage of 47.1 and 3-point percentage of 44 are also career bests and she is tied for fourth in the league in made threes per game. Loyd’s and Breanna Stewart’s incredible starts have the defending champion Storm sitting at 7-1 atop the standings.
Seattle’s Stephanie Talbot missed a desperation three at the buzzer of regulation after blocking a Marina Mabrey full-court attempt with two seconds left. Dallas would have won after Talbot’s miss had a Satou Sabally make on the previous possession not been changed to a two-pointer after being ruled a three on the floor.
The Wings (2-5), who closed regulation on an 11-2 run, lost yet another close game. Their losses have come by three (also in overtime against the Storm), seven, six, four and three.
Stewart scored 23 points to go along with nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks. Talbot had 21 points, Mercedes Russell had 12 and nine boards and Bird notched 10 assists.
Mabrey, who has taken the league by storm in her third season, led Dallas with 24 points and is just 0.1 behind Loyd in points per game. Arike Ogunbowale was good for 22 points and eight helpers while Sabally had 18 points and nine rebounds in her first game of the season. Allisha Gray chipped in with 15 points in defeat.
Minnesota Lynx (2-4) over Atlanta Dream (4-3), 86-84
Napheesa Collier (seven rebounds, three steals) was the league’s top scorer with 26 on the night, including the game-winning free throws with 1.5 ticks remaining. A layup from Atlanta’s Tiffany Hayes (23 points, eight rebounds) with 5.2 seconds to go had tied the game. The Dream had the biggest lead of the fourth at seven points with 8:29 to play.
Sharpshooter Kayla McBride (17 points) shot better than 50 percent from beyond the arc for the first time in 2021 and eclipsed her previous season high of two made triples with a 5-of-9 effort. Layshia Clarendon followed up her heroics from last Sunday with 14 points and five assists to help the Lynx win their second game in a row after starting 0-4. Crystal Dangerfield tossed in 10 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter while Sylvia Fowles was good for eight points and 11 rebounds.
Courtney Williams had 15 points and 10 boards in defeat. Her team led by nine at two different points in the third.
“There were a couple times in the game where it felt like it was pretty close to teetering, maybe going the wrong way,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. “But we found ways to answer. ... We had to scratch and claw and sort of hang in there and find our way.”