It was an electric night as the WNBA Seattle Storm faced off with the San Antonio Stars last Sunday at KeyArena in Seattle.
A sellout crowd (9,686) was there not only to root on their Storm but to welcome back one of their own in former Washington Husky guard Kelsey Plum now playing for the Stars after they chose her as the number one pick in this year’s draft.
The Storm didn’t disappoint as they stopped their three-game losing streak by defeating the Stars 75-57 behind a double-double from center Breanna Stewart.
Seattle (6-5) played well on both sides of the ball as they got back to what brought them
“I thought we started to look more how we’re supposed to look,” said head coach Jenny Boucek. “I have to go back and watch the film to evaluate exactly how well we did or did not play, but I did think we got more to how we want to play on both ends of the floor.”
San Antonio scored first but the Storm came back to take the lead as the first quarter saw the teams exchange the lead three times.
But it was the only quarter that the Stars would find themselves in the lead as they seemed to let their frustration show.
“I thought that Seattle outplayed us,” said San Antonio head coach Vicky Johnson. “We had no desire to compete tonight. We’re not built like that. I put this team together because I thought we had heart. No matter our record, we still always fought. Tonight we didn’t fight and I’m very upset about that.”
After taking a 17-15 score into the second quarter Seattle continued to find ways to score and a defense that created opportunities including off of three blocked shots by Stewart.
At the half it was 37-26 and the Storm looked comfortable in their play while San Antonio (0-11) started to show signs of frustration.
Neither team had anyone in double figures at the half but everyone who played minutes in the first half scored at least two points for Seattle.
The Stars ended the half shooting 28.6 while the Storm with the nine point lead was only shooting 38.3 percent.
San Antonio scored the first five points of the second half to pull with six points 37-31 but then Stewart took the game under her 7’1” wingspan and began knocking down shots both into the basket and away from it.
Stewart buried back-to-back three’s to spark a 14-5 Seattle run.
She blocked two more shots, including one on a driving lay-up attempt by Plum, to end with a career high five blocked shots.
Talking about being blocked by Stewart, Plum told the crowd after the game that “I thought I was going to get that shot off on Stewie… (crowd laughs)…it (the block) pretty much sums up my whole year.”
After scoring seven points in the first half Stewart racked up 15 in the second to end the game with 22 and a double-double, her 15th of her career, as she grabbed 15 rebounds.
“She obviously has the ability to have games like that – hurting teams from the inside, hurting teams from the outside,” said Storm guard Sue Bird. “But really to me what stuck out the most was her rebounding. When she’s in there rebounding the ball that way it’s such a big difference for our team. From that (rebounding) we’re able to run our break and it really opens things up for everybody. Her rebounding to me was what really stuck out. But obviously when she’s hitting shots from the outside like that, it also opens things up, so I’ll take that too.”
Seattle forward Crystal Langhorne was the only other Storm player in double figures with 10 and guard Sue Bird added nine assists.
Seattle’s bench got into the game as well scoring 26 points which is the most they’ve had since playing the Indiana Fever on May 28th when they scored 29. Ramu Tokashiki and Sami Whitcomb lead the bench play with each scoring nine points.
Star’s guard Kayla McBride was the lone double figure scorer for her team with 11 as well as nine rebounds and three steals. San Antonio ended the game shooting 28.8 percent.
Plum finished with her best regular season game playing 21 minutes and scoring eight points.
The Storm will celebrate Pride Month with their Pride kick-off game against the Phoenix Mercury and newly minted WNBA career scoring leader Diana Taurasi at 7pm on Friday, June 23rd at KeyArena.