(Image courtesy of Seattle Storm twitter)
Seattle had all five of their starters in double figures in the loss: Jewell Loyd led the way with 16, Breanna Stewart put up 15, Katie Lou Samuelson scored 14, Mercedes Russell added 12, and Sue Bird pitched in with 10 points. But it wasn’t enough to take down the mighty Mercury.
Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith Combined for 55 points
Brittney Griner scored 29 points on 14-24 shooting from the field. Griner also added 15 rebounds. Seattle had no answer for Griner, who was ultra-aggressive in Friday night’s game. Over the last two games, Griner has played some outstanding basketball and Phoenix has made a constant effort to get Griner the ball in the post.
Diggins-Smith added 26 points and was just as stoppable as Griner. The point guard shot 8-13 from the field and 9-9 at the free-throw line. Diggins-Smith also added three rebounds and six assists.
Seattle Shooting Woes
Seattle had all five starters score in double figures, but as a team, they only shot 38.2% from the field and 30.8% from three-point land. Phoenix shot 47.1% from the field, and it helped them build a lead that they wouldn’t surrender. This is the type of offensive inefficiency that could turn a contender into a pretender very quickly.
Seattle’s Bench Outscored 18-10
The Storm lost the game by eight and were outscored by the Phoenix bench by the same amount. Jordin Canada led the bench in scoring with six points, Epiphanny Prince added two points, Kennedy Burke scored two points. That’s not exactly a banner night for anyone from the Storm bench, and they couldn’t keep pace with the Phoenix reserves. Shey Peddy and Megan Walker scored eight points apiece for the Mercury, while Kia Vaughn added two points. Bench scoring has been a strength for Seattle in the past, but if they want to repeat as champions, they’ll need to get more production from their bench.
The Storm will get another chance at the Mercury on Sunday, but it will be in Seattle this time. The game will take place at 6 PM ET. and will be the last contest before the Olympic break for both teams.
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