Loyd scores 26 points, Stewart adds 24 and Charles records a franchise-high 18 rebounds as Seattle wins Game 1 of the WNBA semifinals
LAS VEGAS – jewel loyd scored 26 points including 10 in the fourth quarter and tina charles pulled off a franchise-record 18 rebounds while adding 13 points and Seattle’s defense clamped down on the highest-scoring team in the league as the Storm cruised to a 76-73 victory over top-seeded Las Vegas in Game One. of the WNBA Semifinals on Sunday afternoon. at the Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
Loyd continued his hot shot of late, scoring a game-high 26 points on 10-for-19 while adding four assists and a steal. This comes just 14 days after Loyd scored a career-high 38 on 13-of-23 shooting in a 109-100 loss to the Aces to close out the regular season.
Seattle was able to outrebound the Aces 37-34 thanks in large part to a franchise-record 18 career playoff points from Charles. He also had 13 points in the game for his eighth career playoff double-double of his and first since the 2015 season.
breanna stewart he continued to put up points in bunches, scoring 24 points to mark his seventh consecutive 20-plus-point playoff game. That ties her for the second-longest streak of all time, one short of Cappie Pondexter’s record of eight straight games with 20-plus points set in 2010. Stewart also added six rebounds, three blocks, two assists and a steal.
Sue Bird posted her second straight game with double-digit assists, scoring 12 without committing a turnover. his 12the The game’s attendance moved her to first place on the WNBA’s all-time playoff assists list with 342, passing Lindsey Whalen for the top spot. She also became the third player to record 12+ assists without committing a turnover in a playoff game (Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, 8/30/1999, Diana Taurasi, 8/21/2018).
The budding rivalry between Storm and Aces has produced several exciting games this season and today’s game was no exception. Seattle jumped out to an early lead and went as far as 12 ahead. The Aces didn’t go quietly, taking their first lead of the game with 6:15 left in the quarter. The Aces had a lead of as many as three, the last of which came with 3:44 to go, but the Storm regained the lead on Loyd’s 3-pointer with 1:45 to go. The Aces quickly tied it on the next trip down the floor only to see Seattle regain the lead on a free throw with 1:16 left. The Storm would seal the deal with a step back from Loyd with 34.6 seconds left and played great defense down the stretch when Vegas missed two shots and committed a turnover on all three of his possessions in the final minute of the game.
Seattle got off to a strong start, using an early 7-0 run to go up 13-4 at the 6:38 mark. But the Storm’s defense would keep Vegas without a point for nearly six minutes, increasing the lead to 15-4 before the Aces snapped the scoreless streak with a bucket at the 2:36 mark and pulled within seven. before Seattle ran back to 12. and held a 26-15 lead after one.
The Storm still held an 11-point lead 2:30 into the second quarter when they cooled off, missing seven straight from the field as Las Vegas used an 8-0 run to make it a 30-27 Storm with 3:46 left to go. After two minutes of back-and-forth, Seattle stretched the lead to nine on a drive-back by Charles followed by a 3-pointer by Loyd. The Storm would close out the half going 5-for-6 and taking a 43-36 lead into halftime.
In the third, the Aces continued to close, using an early 7-0 run to pull within two with 6:22 left in the period. The Storm would stretch the lead back to six and then see the Aces close to two again moments later. The last of those came thanks to three fast-break buckets in a row by Storm with Loyd earning a trip to the lane for an old-fashioned three-point play to give Seattle a 58-51 lead with 2:09 left.
The Storm led 60-57 as the teams headed into fourth and were up 64-59 at the 7:13 mark on a pair of free throws by Stewart. Las Vegas responded with back-to-back 3-pointers from Kelsey Plum and Riquana Williams to take their first lead of the game and set up the wild ending.
The win was Seattle’s first in Las Vegas since the 2018 season when the Storm beat the Aces in the first meeting between the two in Las Vegas. It also marked Seattle’s fourth straight playoff victory over the Aces after the Storm swept Las Vegas in the 2020 WNBA Finals. Seattle also improves to 15-4 in playoff games with Stewart in the lineup and has won 13 straight postseason games with Stewart on the floor.
The two teams resume the series Wednesday night with Game 2 in Las Vegas. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm at Michelob Ultra Arena and the game can be seen on ESPN2.