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Notes & Quotes: Storm Beat Sky, 96-85

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

  • Trailing by 14 (73-59) late in the third quarter, Noelle Quinn and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis knocked down three-pointers to spark a 20-2 run for Seattle to take a 79-75 lead in the fourth quarter, capped by a bucket from Natasha Howard with 5:54 left to play. Seattle held Chicago without a field goal during that stretch.
  • For the second time this season, the Storm overcame a 14-point deficit against the Sky in the second half.
  • Seattle outscored Chicago in the final 10 minutes, 31-12, shooting 12-for-16 from the field, including 4-for-4 by both Breanna Stewart and Natasha Howard. The 31 points marked a season-high for the Storm in the fourth frame, and the home team also went without a turnover in those 10 minutes.

KEY STATS OF THE GAME

  • The Storm shot 12-for-16 (75 percent) in the fourth quarter, compared to a 4-for-18 (22 percent) clip from the Sky. Seattle outscored Chicago in that stanza, 31-12.
  • Seattle scored a season-high 48 points in the paint, eclipsing its previous high of 46 (vs. CHI, 5/25/18), compared to Chicago’s inside number of 30 points.

STORM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Breanna Stewart buried a season-high four three-pointers en route to a game-high 30 points, her fifth 30+ point game of her career.
  • Jewell Loyd scored 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting to go along with five rebounds and five assists, her first game of the season with 15+ points, 5+ rebounds, and 5+ assists.
  • Natasha Howard mustered 15 points, 11 of which came in the second half.
  • Sue Bird added five dimes tonight, her sixth game of the season with five or more assists.
  • The Storm improved to 10-5 all-time at home against the Sky and won its second straight at home against Chicago for the first time since 2011-12. Seattle defeated the Sky on 9/11/11 (81-70) and then again on 9/18/12 (75-60).
  • In six of the Storm’s seven wins this season, Jewell Loyd has shot 50 percent or better. In the team’s three losses, she has shot below 30 percent. Tonight she connected eight of her 11 field goals, good for 72.7 percent.
  • Crystal Langhorne missed her seventh game of the 2018 season, equaling the seven games she missed in her previous 10 WNBA seasons. Since 2008, she’s played in the second-most games (336) in the WNBA (Camille Lyttle, 346).
  • The Storm’s 56.3 percent (18-for-32) shooting clip in the opening 20 minutes was the second-highest, first-half shooting clip of the season. The team shot 57.1 percent (20-for-35) vs. Las Vegas on 5/31/18.
  • Seattle made 10 of its last 13 shots en route to closing the first frame with a 21-11 run to take a 29-24 lead into the second stanza. Breanna Stewart scored 10 of her 30 points in the first quarter.
  • The Storm’s entire bench had a positive +/- rating when playing in tonight’s contest. Seattle outscored Chicago by 17 points when Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was in the game.

SKY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Nine-year veteran Allie Quigley snapped her two-game single-digit scoring skid with 20 points. She has averaged 21.5 points per game against the Storm this season.
  • Rookie Diamond DeShields scored 20 points or more for the second time this season, posting 22 points on 6-for-13 shooting, including a career- and season-high five three’s.
  • Chicago opened the third quarter with a 19-4 run to take a 65-54 lead. The Sky ultimately outscored the Storm by 12 (27-15) in the third frame to take a 73-65 lead into the fourth quarter.
  •  In her fifth game of the season, point guard Courtney Vandersloot registered 14 points and five assists.
  • Center Astou Ndour cashed in season-highs for points (10), rebounds (seven) and minutes (30).
  • Cheyenne Parker notched her third double-double of the season, logging 10 points and 10 boards off the bench.
  •  The Sky played without Stefanie Dolson (strained tendon) for the fifth-straight game and fell to 1-4 without the 6-4 center.

SEATTLE QUOTES

STORM COACH DAN HUGHES

(On the game as a whole)

“I thought the story was our bench play in the third quarter. Chicago came out and was very, very good in the third quarter and they were really separating from us but I thought our bench gave us – we cut it to eight when Kaleena [Mosqueda-Lewis] hit that three and then we just kind of rode them a little bit into the fourth to be honest with you. They were able to take that momentum. We defended well in the fourth quarter but we really struggled stop Chicago. I thought they were making shots and all that and we had to weather the storm and the key to weathering the storm was what the bench play did – and of course [Breanna] Stewart was excellent the whole day. I thought Jewell [Loyd] also stepped up in a big way coming out of it and [Natasha] Howard was really important down the stretch for us.”

(On similarities between the last matchup)

“It was different in that the last time we played we brought Jordin [Canada] in with Sue [Bird] and played that group down the stretch. To me the way it was different was because we had a lot of players come off the bench and kind of leading the way today and putting us in a position to not only cut into their lead but to take the lead. It was more of a full court thing the last time we played and we turned them over and did some things. Our energy defensively and then our execution offensively enabled us to close the gap and then take the lead. I thought we did a good job playing with the lead once we got it.”

(On closing out the game)

“I thought offensively we did a great job of execution and sometimes you can call plays but at some point it’s a matter of getting the ball to the right spot. There was mature movement in my eyes. Jewell Loyd, for example, you could see attacking the middle. We assisted well in that situation and got some good movement in the interior and played to the lane. I think that’s also very important because it’s going to get you to the free throw line. Conversely, we had struggled to rebound the ball. We had struggled to be the first to the ball but I thought the whole fourth quarter including this stretch, we did that. We were able to defend and get to balls. You’re going to close games if you put those two things together.”

(On importance of this 5-game home stretch)

“When you look at the schedule you’d say very important but for whatever reason we play pretty well on the road – you could argue we play better on the road. This is a year where I’m still gathering data. What’s important is that I want people to see this team and I want some momentum coming out. We want [this team] to see what we can do, so I love them getting involved in the game but it’s going to be interesting to me because we’ve got a really good Connecticut [Sun] team that’s probably playing the best in the league right now. That will be a really good measure. I think it’s important but I’m not going to lie to you, I think we can win road games. All of us are going to be in situations where we’re going to be playing through stretches when we’ll be playing every other day – Atlanta just went through that – and you’re going to have away stretches and you have got to manage all of those things and so ‘to be determined’ how we’re going to manage the home deal. I think you’ve got to manage those three types of schedules in this particular season so it’s important but I do think we can win on the road. It’s something that goes against thinking but I think you have to pay attention to both and try to find as many victories as you can.”

 

STORM FORWARD NATASHA HOWARD

(On playing Chicago again)
“Last time we played Chicago it was a close game, but this time we made sure that we got stops when we needed to and scored when we needed to.”

(On defense)

“In the beginning we were rotating too much and they were finding the person on the weak side and they were knocking us out. Chicago has some great shooters, I think that we made the adjustments that we needed to make in order to help our teammates out.”

STORM FORWARD BREANNA STEWART

(On differences from last game)
“It was nice to get into a rhythm other than just in the fourth quarter as compared to the last game. We were moving the ball and then were able to find and open person to take shots. We shot the ball way better than we did on Sunday. Then in the fourth quarter we were able to play defense, score the ball and get the win.”

(On second half)

“We came out in the third quarter and they hit us first, they were really aggressive. They knocked out some tough shots. We knew that they had made their run, but it was our turn to make ours. We took control of the game.”

CHICAGO QUOTES

SKY HEAD COACH AMBER STOCKS

(On what the difference was in the fourth quarter)
“We didn’t hit shots and weren’t able to capitalize on some stops. The one possession where Seattle had two offensive rebounds in one singular possession was a significant shift in the game. I give a lot of credit to Noelle Quinn and (Kaleena) Mosqueda-Lewis for coming out and really impacting things for Seattle off the bench. Our team was relentless. I love the way our team plays together. We just weren’t able to hit some wide-open looks that we had.”

(On what the team will focus on before their next game at home on Sunday)

“We have to continue to play to our strengths. We’re one of the best passing teams in the league as far as moving the ball around. We have to continue to move and cut without the ball In order to open up some of those passing opportunities. Courtney Vandersloot and Jamierra Faulkner are outstanding at reading the defense and scoring the basketball so we have to continue to find opportunities for them to thrive in both areas – distributing and scoring.”

(On what she learned about her team on this road trip)

“This Chicago Sky squad is not a group of basketball players – we really are a team. A united, bonded, connected team with a strong passion for basketball and a strong passion for each other.”

SKY GUARD ALLIE QUIGLEY

(On the game)
“It was just another one like last time. We have to figure out how to keep a lead and then if you don’t, try and figure out how to make a run. It’s a game of runs. They made a run and we have to be able to make a run and not get swept up in that momentum.”

(On what the difference was between the third and fourth quarters)

“It’s about getting stops. When we went up 12, it was about getting stops and when we got down, it was because we relaxed. I think we relaxed a little on their bench (players) and they came in and made shots. Then it’s hard when you’re up and they make a (big) swing to keep (the lead).”

(On what they’ll take away from this road trip)

“I think we learned what not to do. We learned about all of the mistakes we can’t really continue to make if we want to get any wins in this league. We’ve really been analyzing what are the good things we need to keep doing, and we did a lot of those tonight, but unfortunately it just wasn’t enough in that fourth quarter when they came back.”