Storm take down Mercury on “Rivalry Night” behind return to form from Jewell Loyd 

Photo by Stanley Morris / fi360 News

Seattle, WA – On WNBA “Rivalry night,” the Seattle Storm handily defeated the Phoenix Mercury to complete the season sweep. Across the board, the Storm performed well and were able to lock up their fifth win in the past seven games as Jewell Loyd looked back to herself again with a 24-point effort and Seattle’s bench played a strong role in the win. Phoenix held a lead a little over five and a half minutes into the game, but that was all they’d get as the Storm took over from there and never looked back. Despite the loss of Gabby Williams to injury and Ivana Dojkic to overseas commitment, the Storm have won back-to-back games since losing them and have been able to play better basketball tonight than that first win.   

As mentioned, the Mercury came into this game strong as they held their largest lead, seven points, with a little under five and a half minutes into the first quarter. Phoenix’s starting five was spreading the offense around and finding their spots early while Seattle tried to get set into their gameplan, as the Storm were trying to avoid another poor shooting game after barely managing to escape with a win over the Dream last time out. After a few inefficient games from the field, Seattle guard Jewell Loyd started this contest with 14 points in the fourth quarter to push the Storm into the lead and have them never look back from it. Nicknamed “The Gold Mamba,” Loyd ended up with 23 points in the first half as Seattle settled into their game and was able to get their second scorer Ezi Magbegor heavily involved, with the bench providing quality minutes to end the half with a 16-point lead.   

“I think just being able to lock down defensively, especially coming out at halftime. But I think that also shows that growth, just being able to not let that lead or let their comeback kind of get to us. I think we did a great job of just being able to stop that and counter that, just kind of stay poised and stay together in that moment,” Ezi Magbegor, Seattle Storm center, on the team closing this game out.  

While they’ve found ways to do it before, just not very often, the Storm have needed their superstar shooting guard Jewell Loyd to carry their offense just about all season long. Loyd’s put-up monster numbers all season en route to what an MVP campaign would be if Seattle’s record was better, but has seen a dip in production in recent weeks as teams focus on trapping her and trying to take her out of the gameplan. Jewell ensured that she was going to be a factor in the Storm win from the get-go, as her 14 points kick started the Seattle offense and helped get her teammates going as well, including the team’s second scorer in Ezi Magbegor who finished with 17 points. While Loyd scored only one point in the second half after dropping 23 in the first, her jolt of energy translated onto the scoreboard and helped Seattle grab momentum early from Phoenix. 

“I have all the confidence in everyone on the team. Regardless of me scoring or not, I know that I’m able to be a screener, I know I can still play defense, I’m still involved, I’m relying on everyone else. Everyone else steps up and we’ve seen that before. It’s nice to know that regardless of if I’m hitting or not, we’re taking good shots,” Jewell Loyd, Seattle Storm guard, on the team holding on to their halftime lead.     

Following this satisfying victory on rivalry night over the Mercury, the Storm will get a few days of rest/practice before they finish off their four-game homestand on Friday, August 18th. That day at Climate Pledge Arena will see Seattle hosting the Minnesota Lynx for a 7PM PST tipoff as the Storm look to win their third straight by toppling a Lynx team that currently sits in a playoff spot after struggling heavily to begin the season. Getting those few days of rest and practice before this game gives Seattle a chance to clean things up before this contest. If you’re not attending here in person in Seattle, that game will be broadcast on ION.