Seattle, WA – Their bench kept them in a tight game with the Dallas Wings, but it’d be the Storm’s Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd who helped Seattle pull away. Storm veterans Tina Charles and Stephanie Talbot provided a necessary spark off the bench, helping Seattle keep pace with a Wings team that turned defense into offense. On a quick turnaround from All-Star weekend, the Storm starters did not kick into gear until late in the third. Seattle has won their third straight game, as well as their third straight against Dallas since a June 3rd loss at home to the Wings.
The bench centers for both teams came up big in this contest, as Teaira McCowan and Tina Charles had critical impacts. The Storm had Charles to call off the bench, and she provided a spark to a slow starting Seattle. Charles poured in eleven points and nine rebounds. For Dallas, McCowan played starter minutes and totaled a double-double. McCowan poured in 18 points, adding ten rebounds and two blocks. Seattle failed to do much to stop McCowan, and she was only one of three Dallas players with a net positive impact when on the floor. Storm forward Breanna Stewart discussed McCowan’s impact postgame.
“It’s tough, she uses her body really well and is able to finish. Her development from last year to this year is showing in just the way that she can finish over both shoulders. Really, I think that when you’re guarding her you have to try and not let her get the ball. If she does, then the double (team) has to come quick. Knowing that she is really difficult for us to guard, putting her in a lot of action and pull screens and making her work at both ends” Stewart reflected.
While Storm big three members Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart made their mark, Seattle got key performances from Australian players Stephanie Talbot and Ezi Magbegor. Talbot’s play earned her more minutes than starter Gabby Williams due to her tough defense and offensive approach. Ezi Magbegor continues to shine in her 2022 campaign, flirting with a double-double. Her 13 points and eight rebounds were big as Seattle tried to match McCowan. Yesterday after practice, Tina Charles was seen offering Magbegor tips to help her get better. Head coach Noelle Quinn discussed the importance of Magbegor’s growth.
“It’s huge to have Tina help Ezi. I think about what Crystal Langhorne was for Ezi as well a couple of years ago and being in that position. Having been an all-star in our league and a champion, to have that support behind you as a young player. Ezi is super receptive on all of that which makes it even better. Even with Jantel to start the year, her veteran presence. She’s an All-Star, a champion, sixth woman of the year. She’s had success in our league, and to surround Ezi with all of that knowledge, to give her the blueprint, the tools she needs to be successful. It’s gonna cultivate her to be an amazing player,” Quinn said.
The Storm seem to have mixed decorated veteran Tina Charles in with their tight knit group, and it is paying dividends. The offensive attack has been effective at a high clip, as the third quarter in this contest was the third time over the last two games that Seattle has shot at 75% from the field. In their last win, they set historic offensive marks in a blowout win of the Sparks. There are spots to clean up for
Seattle, but there are more positives than negatives at this point. The Storm look to be finding the juggernaut form that has made other teams dread seeing them on the schedule once again.
Seattle’s next contest comes this Sunday, July 17th against the Indiana Fever. The Storm host the Fever inside Climate Pledge Arena with a 3PM PST tipoff, as the teams meet for the third time in a stretch of six games. The Storm look to remain undefeated against Indiana, and could possibly overtake the Las Vegas Aces for the first overall seed in the Western Conference.