Storm vanquish Aces in back-and-forth battle of top Western Conference teams

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 27: Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum (10)

Seattle, WA – In a battle between the top two teams in the Western Conference, Seattle weathered Las Vegas offensive attack to win 88-78. A tough battle throughout, the Storm were able to get into winning time in the fourth quarter. Seattle outscored the Aces by eight points, and members of the big three were able to hit clutch shots to slam the door shut. With the win, Sue Bird became the winningest player in WNBA history, notching victory number 324.

Storm shooting guard Jewell Loyd seems to get better every game, and always shows out. The “Gold Mamba” made impacts on both ends of the court, leading the game in scoring with 24 points. On the defensive end, Loyd was tasked with guarding Las Vegas guards, including Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young, and Loyd was able to earn 24 +/- rating on the game. Loyd also helped Seattle force 20 turnovers on the Aces, and she would discuss that postgame.

“We executed our game plan. Whether we were switching or trapping, we made sure that they did not know what we were going to do. Once they read things, we changed them on the fly. You have to be unpredictable at times. Throwing different looks at their guards helped a lot,” Loyd would say.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 27: Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum (10)

Decorated veteran Tina Charles made her Storm debut in this contest, after previously deciding to leave the Phoenix Mercury after it became clear to her that she could not win a title there. Charles headed to the Pacific Northwest, and brings spacing and rebounding to Seattle.

While Charles’ stats were limited in her first game (Four points, five rebounds, 1 assist in 16 minutes), her new team is obviously excited to have another player of her caliber around. Seattle coach Noelle Quinn discussed what she saw from Charles and what she expects from her.

“She is going to garner a lot of attention. Her understanding of the game is big. Adapting to the way we play, automatically, is good to see. We are gonna get her in spots to be successful, but to have a player of that caliber on the floor is going to help everybody else,” Quinn stated.

Photo by Aaron Nelson / fi360 News

The fourth quarter has been huge for Seattle in just about every single contest this season, ironically not the first contest between these two teams though. The first time the Storm and Aces met this season was a blow out by Las Vegas. Seattle made sure that there would be no repeat of that, and no late collapse as well. In the final seven minutes, Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd combined for five critical jump shots to seal the win. This win not only means a lot because the Storm beat the current best team in the WNBA, but it was a Commissioner’s Cup game as well. Seattle is another step closer to defending their inaugural Commissioner’s Cup title from last season.

Seattle’s next matchup comes on Friday July 1st at Climate Pledge Arena against the Indiana Fever. Indiana has been struggling in recent years, and that continues when they travel to Seattle with their 5-16 record. Star guard Kelsey Mitchell will look to do all she can to keep the Fever in the game against an already loaded roster that now gets to work Tina Charles into their game plan. Tipoff is at 7PM PST.