WNBA: Storm try to stay hot against visiting Mystics
The Seattle Storm return from an impressive road swing to kick off a four-game homestand on Thursday when they host the Washington Mystics.
Seattle (10-6) concluded a 4-1 road trip on Sunday with an 81-72 defeat of New York. Gabby Williams went for 23 points and nine rebounds while WNBA-leading scorer Breanna Stewart (21.8 per game) tacked on 18 points and nine boards.
The win was the Storm’s fifth in their last six outings.
Williams’ outburst marked a season-high for the 5.9-point per game scorer, who had yet to score in double figures in her 15 previous games.
Sue Bird — who last week announced her retirement at season’s end — went 3-of-7 from 3-point range and finished with 11 points and four assists in her final regular-season visit to New York.
“It’s no Kobe Bryant dropping 60 (points in his final NBA game in 2016), but it feels pretty good,” Bird said, per the Seattle Times. “To be honest, it wasn’t about the game. It wasn’t about how I played. It was really about soaking it all in, enjoying the moment.”
Bird and the Storm now come home to face a Washington team on a West Coast road swing. The Mystics (11-8) dropped the first game in their trip on Tuesday, 84-82 at Los Angeles.
Washington trailed much of the way, including by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter, before a furious rally ultimately fell short.
Natasha Cloud connected on a 3-pointer with 13.3 seconds remaining. Then after a pair of Sparks free throws, she drew a foul on another 3-point attempt with a chance to tie the score but missed the second foul shot to force an intentional miss on the third.
Los Angeles converted 17 Washington turnovers into 23 points. Ariel Atkins, who finished with a game-high 22 points, blamed the turnovers on the team “not being intentional.”
“That’s hard to say because that’s something I try to pride myself on,” Atkins said via the Washington Post. “I need to get my eyes up and not be so quick to get rid of the ball. Keep my dribble more and find the open man.”
Washington played Tuesday without Elena Delle Donne, the former two-time Most Valuable Player and current 14.9 point per game scorer. She is slated to be in the lineup on Thursday in Seattle.
The Mystics will look to cut down on turnovers against the league’s most prolific takeaway-generating defense. Seattle averages 17.2 forced turnovers per game behind Stewart’s WNBA-best 2.1 steals per game.
Washington still ranks among the league’s most protective offenses, committing just 13.8 turnovers per game. Only Seattle with 13.6 per game and Las Vegas (11.7) average fewer.
–Field Level Media