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Recaps: Loyd clutch again as Storm hang on

Jewell Loyd made the Atlanta Dream’s life more difficult with a key layup late and the Seattle Storm hung on to win by three. Plus, the Las Vegas Aces kept pace with the Storm in first place by holding on against the Los Angeles Sparks and the Dallas Wings went on a late run to defeat the Chicago Sky.

Atlanta Dream v Seattle Storm
Jewell Loyd
Photo by Josh Huston/NBAE via Getty Images

Jewell Loyd returned from a trip to the locker room to score on a layup that put the Seattle Storm up three over the Atlanta Dream with 6.1 seconds left. She forced Atlanta’s Courtney Williams to go for a three on the Dream’s ensuing possession instead of a two. C. Williams missed with two ticks remaining, Seattle’s Sue Bird collected the rebound and that was it in a 91-88 victory for the Storm on Friday night at Angel of the Wings Arena in Everett, Wash.

Seattle (13-4) led by eight entering the fourth, by seven with 5:11 remaining and by six with three minutes remaining. From there, Atlanta (6-10) went on a 5-0 run that featured a Cheyenne Parker layup and a Crystal Bradford three and the Storm never led by more than four the rest of the way.

Bird made a three with 1:17 to go that made it 87-83 Seattle, but C. Williams answered with a triple 20 seconds later. A Loyd tip in and a C. Williams jumper from the free throw line then brought the score to 89-88 Seattle with 29.2 seconds left.

C. Williams had 11 points in the fourth while the best player in the world, Breanna Stewart of the Storm, was held scoreless.

But Stewart had the last laugh as her team won anyway thanks to a nine-point advantage across the second and third quarters. Atlanta led by one after one.

Bird was good for 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from distance and dished out five assists. C. Williams finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven helpers in defeat while Bradford notched 17 points, seven assists and four steals.

Stewart finished with nine points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Mercedes Russell aided the winning cause with 10 points and seven boards, Ezi Magbegor had 12 points and Loyd ended up with 10 points and five rebounds in just 23 minutes and 44 seconds of playing time, well below her season average of 31.5 minutes per game.

Katie Lou Samuelson chipped in with eight points, four rebounds and three assists for Seattle. Teammate Jordin Canada recorded six points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals. Stephanie Talbot was the fifth Storm player in double figures with 10 points.

Every Storm player that entered the contest (10 players) scored at least five points. 17 different players had at least one assist in the game.

Both teams were hot from beyond the arc with Seattle going 14-of-22 (63.6 percent) and Atlanta going 8-of-20 (40 percent). The Storm lost the points in the paint battle 40-30 but made 11 more free throws.

“Another grinded out and hard-fought game,” said Storm coach Noelle Quinn. “I thought our bench did excellent today. We had a lot of contribution from everyone, you know. Rebounding was key for us. We out rebounded our opponent, we got to the free throw line and just, at the end of the game, a couple of great players making some great plays for us. Overall, a very good effort against the Atlanta Dream, which was playing at a high level with guards who are very hard to contain. We’ll take this one [victory] and grow from it.”

Other action

Las Vegas Aces (13-4) over Los Angeles Sparks (6-10), 66-58

The Sparks (6-10) went from down 10 with a minute left in the third to up two with 4:43 to play but the Point Gawd (Chelsea Gray — 14 points, four assists) and Riquna Williams were too clutch for Vegas (13-4) down the stretch.

Gray tied the game on a fallaway jumper in the lane with 3:48 to go and then, after two A’ja Wilson free throws, made a gutsy bank-floater to push the Aces lead to four with 2:38 remaining.

Amanda Zahui B. (14 points, 12 rebounds) answered with a bank shot near the basket of her own that cut it to two, but R. Williams provided the dagger on a 3-pointer with 1:53 to play. The Sparks never scored again and Wilson (20 points, 10 rebounds) closed out the game with three more made free throws on four attempts.

R. Williams played 29 minutes and 51 seconds but made just that one field goal on four attempts.

The Aces won despite nearly matching their season low of 65 points. Their previous low in a win was 85.

Erica Wheeler notched 15 points and dished out five assists in defeat while Te’a Cooper added 12 points for LA.

Dearica Hamby (six points, nine rebounds), Liz Cambage (10 points, four rebounds) and Jackie Young (eight points, five rebounds) contributed what they could to the winning cause though points were scarce.

“We expected LA to come out and play very hard,” said Aces coach Bill Laimbeer. “I give them all the credit in the world, they were all over us today. ... Down the stretch two things happened. One, Chelsea Gray made big plays, that’s why we got her. And A’ja Wilson made great defensive plays.”

Dallas Wings (9-9) over Chicago Sky (10-9), 100-91

Marina Mabrey scored eight of her career-high-tying 28 points in a 46-second span from the 2:19 mark of the fourth to the 1:33 mark. It was an 8-4 run for her against the Sky and took the score from 87-85 Chicago to 93-91 Dallas.

Mabrey then tried to throw down a dagger with 47 seconds left. She missed her 3-point attempt, but Kayla Thornton (10 points, seven rebounds, four assists) caught the contested air ball under the basket and made a layup to push the Wings lead to four. Dallas went 5-of-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to secure the win, which improved its record to .500 (9-9) and put it alone in sixth place, just a half a game behind the fifth-place Sky (10-9).

“I feel like this game we locked down instead of coming apart and that shows some great growth for us,” Mabrey said.

Allisha Gray (17 points) made a key mid-range jumper to tie the game at 83 with 3:55 remaining and also made a three that gave the Wings a 79-78 lead with 6:38 to go. Dallas led 76-70 before a 6-0 Sky run.

The excitement wasn’t reserved for the fourth as Mabrey nearly had back-to-back four-point plays 39 seconds apart late in the second. She missed the free throw on the second conversion attempt, but still had seven points in that span, followed by a triple that put Dallas up 51-48 with one second left before halftime.

The Wings led by as much as 10 in the third, but Chicago battled back. The Sky led 14-6 early and by as much as 10 in the first.

Candace Parker was fiery in defeat with 22 points and seven rebounds. Satou Sabally had a great game for Dallas with 12 points, nine boards, six assists and three blocks. Arike Ogunbowale and Isabelle Harrison aided the winning cause with 18 and 12 points, respectively.

Courtney Vandersloot finished with just seven points, but was good for nine assists and six rebounds for Chicago. Teammate Diamond DeShields added 16 points.