Former Notre Dame guards Jewell Loyd (39 points) and Arike Ogunbowale (41 points) both went off for career highs Saturday afternoon at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas with Loyd’s Seattle Storm defeating Ogunbowale’s Dallas Wings 109-103.
Loyd dropped 25 on the strength of six threes in the first half before being held scoreless in the third and coming through heroically in the fourth. She was aided by a 4-of-4 three-point effort from teammate Ezi Magbegor, who had never made more than two triples in a single game and was shooting 21.1 percent from deep on the season entering the contest.
Loyd, who added five rebounds and five assists and was 7-of-12 from beyond the arc, made what appeared to be a dagger three that made the score 104-95 with 1:03 remaining. Dallas (5-6) wasn’t done though, as a Natasha Howard steal led to an Ogunbowale three that cut it to 104-100 with 33 ticks to go. The Storm (3-7) were still able to ice the game with a 5-of-6 effort at the stripe from that point on.
Loyd made a mid-range fade that made it 92-89 Seattle with 3:36 remaining and made an absolutely filthy behind-the-back dribble before another mid-range fade that made it 97-92 at 2:23. She also had 2-of-2 trips to the stripe that made it 99-93 and 101-95 with 1:57 and 1:32 remaining, respectively.
Magbegor (15 points, six boards, four blocks) was huge in the fourth with a 3-point play for a five-point lead at 8:20, a three for a four-point lead at 4:11 and another three for a six-point lead at 2:51. After that last one, Seattle led by at least three the rest of the way. Sami Whitcomb added two treys in the final frame.
The Wings cut it to one on a Howard pick-6 at 4:24 and on an Ogunbowale 3-point play at 3:56.
Mercedes Russell added 12 points, 10 rebounds and five helpers to the winning cause while Ivana Dojkic was good for 12 points and seven assists.
Dallas had four players who had phenomenal games, but didn’t get much from anyone else. Satou Sabally had 25 points, seven boards and five helpers while Howard finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals and Crystal Dangerfield managed 15 points and three helpers. Ogunbowale (7-of-14 from deep, 8-of-8 on free throws) added three assists and two swipes to her stat line.
With the Wings locking Loyd down in the third, Dojkic had to step up offensively. She helped Seattle to five-point leads at 68-63 and 70-65 before Dallas came back to take one-point leads at 71-70, 73-72 and 75-74, the last of which was the margin entering the fourth. Sabally went on an individual 6-0 run to make it 71-70 with a 4-point play and an off-hand transition layup.
Dallas opened the third frame on a 4-0 run and later went on an 8-0 run featuring two Ogunbowale 3-point plays to take a 63-62 lead. The Wings closed the 8-0 run when Loyd lost the ball to Sabally in transition and Sabally passed it ahead to Ogunbowale, who was under the Storm basket for the 3-point play.
With the score at 36-34 in their favor, the Storm benefitted from a seven-point possession. Loyd made a deep contested three and drew a foul call on Ogunbowale. The play was reviewed and upgraded to a reckless close-out, allowing Loyd to take two free throws (of which she made one) before Seattle got the ball back. Dojkic buried a triple after Loyd’s trip to the stripe to make it 43-34.
A particularly ill 5-0 individual stretch from Loyd brought the score to 51-37 at the 2:47 mark of the second. She crossed over from left to right to lose her defender before nailing a straightaway three and then made a mid-range fall away from the right baseline.
Dallas somehow made a couple of difficult threes for a 6-0 run that cut it to 54-45 just as it seemed the game was slipping away. Dangerfield hit from deep and Ogunbowale hit a ridiculous high-arching one. The Wings were down just eight at the break (55-47).
Kia Nurse made a deep three that put Seattle up 31-26 two minutes and 16 seconds into the second quarter. Loyd inched the lead up to six with a left-wing transition three that made it 34-28. She just wasn’t missing when she was in rhythm like she was on that play. However, she fouled Ogunbowale on a 3-point attempt not long after and Ogunbowale made all three freebies to cut it to 34-31. The Storm threw the ball away on their ensuing possession and then Dangerfield tied the game at 34 with a trey.
The game started with three straight threes from Nurse, Ogunbowale and Loyd. Sabally scored the next four points to put the Wings up 7-6. Loyd’s second three of the game, which came from the right corner, answered Sabally and made it 9-7 Seattle. A step-back Ogunbowale three from the right wing make it 12-11 Dallas at the 6:58 mark of the first. So both Loyd and Ogunbowale were 2-of-2 from distance in the first 3:02 of the contest.
A Howard steal led to her getting the ball back in transition for a layup that made it 18-17 Dallas. Loyd answered that with a left-corner three that made it 20-18 Storm. The first closed with Magbegor blocking Awak Kuier inside before Loyd got a mid-air put-back on the ensuing possession that made it 26-22 Seattle.
The Storm were 17-of-34 from long range as a team. They attempted 12 more free throws than Dallas and made nine more. Meanwhile, the Wings won points in the paint 50-22.