It's been a rough post-Olympic break for the reigning WNBA Champions. The Commissioner's Cup win aside, the Seattle Storm have gone 2-5 in seven games in the second half of the WNBA's schedule.
However on Thursday (ET), with a hard-fought 85-75 win at home over the New York Liberty, they begin their quest for some momentum leading into the postseason. Although the 2021 playoffs are still more than a fortnight away, the Storm only play three more games until then and the result from each is important to determine whether the team can avoid playing in the first round.
In a game where no team led by more than 10, the Storm outscored the Liberty 45-30 in the second half to snap their three-game losing streak.
Breanna Stewart, the reigning Finals MVP, scored 21 of her 33 points in the second half with 13 of those 21 coming in the third quarter.
STEWIE THROUGH 2⃣ DEFENDERS! 😳#TheQueen x #Stewie4MVP pic.twitter.com/AEEismnlnW- Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) September 3, 2021
This was her 30-point game of the season and first since Jun. 28. She also racked up eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks while shooting an efficient 12-of-22 from the field and a near-perfect 9-of-11 from the free-throw line.
While the Liberty knocked down 11 of their 23 3-point attempts (47.8 percent), it was Stewart's performance that led the Storm to victory despite shooting 2-of-14 from long range.
For the Liberty, who slumped to their sixth straight loss and the ninth in their last 10, Sabrina Ionescu top-scored with 20.
Aces stave off Sky's furious comeback
The slate's other late-game, in Las Vegas at the Michelob Ultra Arena, was an entertainer as well.
Behind a season-high 30 points from Candace Parker, the Chicago Sky fought back from a 19-point deficit to lead by two (79-77) with under five minutes to play. However, the Aces, playing without Aussie Liz Cambage who was ruled out due to a positive COVID-19 test, held on for the win with a game-sealing 13-4 run.
In the hosts' 90-83 victory, reigning league MVP A'ja Wilson was the top performer with 21 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two assists. She was one of four Aces to score in double figures with Kelsey Plum (5 steals) and Riquna Williams also scored 21 points apiece.
Chelsea Gray, who finished with 13 points, six rebounds and five assists, scored six of the team's 13-4 game-sealing run.
In the day's other two games, the Minnesota Lynx - fresh off sealing their 11th consecutive playoff appearance, defeated the Los Angeles Sparks 66-57 while the Dallas Wings edged the Atlanta Dream 72-68.
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