Nneka Ogwumike’s 24 points propelled the Los Angeles Sparks past the Storm, 85-77, at Climate Pledge Arena. The game was tied at 75 with 6:13 to play before LA finished the game on a 10-2 run. Seattle managed just nine points in the fourth quarter.
“Not the effort that we needed and wanted to win against a team who played hard,” said Storm head coach Noelle Quinn. “Didn't execute well on both ends of the floor.”
One bright spot for the Storm was Breanna Stewart. With 28 points, she extended her streak of double-digit scoring performances to 16 games and her streak of 18-plus points to eight. She currently leads the league in scoring with 22 points per game. On Saturday she added seven rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
In addition, Ezi Magbegor was solid with 16 points, three steals and three blocks. She leads the league in blocks per game with 2.7. Gabby Williams added 11 points, five boards and four helpers. It was her second game this season with double-digit points and second in the past three games. She notched her season high of 23 last Sunday. Sue Bird tied LA’s Katie Lou Samuelson with a game-high six assists to go along with six points.
The bad news for Seattle was that, despite playing 27:43, Jewell Loyd scored just three points on 1-of-4 shooting from three and 1-of-9 shooting from the field. She did not attempt a single free throw. The other key problem for the Storm was rebounding. They lost the battle on the glass 41-26.
The Storm led by as much as 12 in the first quarter before trailing for most of the second and most of the third.
When asked what she thinks she needs to tell her team after a loss like this, Quinn said, “It’s hard because you don’t want to get too high or too low.
“At the same time, we’re at this point of our season where the inconsistency of play can’t happen. We’re trying to make it to the end of the season, make it to playoffs and hopefully win a championship and this is not how you play and show up to work and do your job. This is not it. We have to have a mindset about us and our team, a grit about us all the time.”
Fortunately for the Storm, Tina Charles in on her way. The 2021 scoring champion is in All-Star consideration this season and is of course one of the all-time greats. She gives Seattle a big four, adding to the big three of Stewart, Loyd and Bird. If her style of play can fit in, she gives the Storm a much better shot at winning the championship this year.