In what was a career night for Seattle Storm (16-7) guard Jewell Loyd, finishing with a career-high 35 points, her team lost a close one to the New York Liberty, 83-79.
Here are some key takeaways:
Loyd had no choice but to score 35 and lead the team in minutes. She didn’t have fellow All-Stars and Olympians Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, who were both sidelined due to rest.
Most of Loyd’s points came in the second half, as she scored 21 of her 35 in the third period. Her offense that led her to score the third-most points in a quarter in league history, behind Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi (‘06) and Atlanta Dream’s Brittney Sykes (‘19) who both recorded 22.
The burden had to be carried by Loyd, who’s been the go-to player on teams her entire life.
On the night in New York, she took the task and almost completed it.
Loyd would go on a cold streak to end the game, but coach Noelle Quinn liked the idea of sticking with her guard.
“I’m old school,” Quinn said. “I was taught to milk the cow. When somebody is cooking like that, the basket was wide open for her. I don’t think you divert. I think you continue to go to what’s getting you a bucket. You go until you cool off. And for us, she cooled off in that fourth when we needed her.”
Loyd missed seven straight shots in the fourth, which played a role in the Liberty outscoring them 21-7 in the final period.
Seattle’s offense became stagnant without their other stars, and it showed.
What also played a role in them losing the close game is the team squandering a 15-point lead in the third.
“We didn’t make shots,” Loyd said when asked about Seattle’s fourth quarter. “We didn’t execute.”
With the loss, Seattle moves a full game back in the Western Conference behind the Las Vegas Aces.
Overall in the league, the Storm have the third-best record in the league, with the Eastern Conference’s Connecticut Sun the other team above them.
There is still plenty of season to be had for the Storm, who return to the court Friday for a rematch with the Liberty in New York at 4pm PT.