The Seattle Storm were able to outlast the Washington Mystics to take a 1-0 lead in their first-round series after taking Game 1, 86-83.
The clutch win came courtesy of an epic run from Jewell Loyd, who scored 12 of her 16 points in the final five minutes to help the Storm overcome a monster 26-point performance from walking bucket Elena Delle Donne. Loyd didn’t make her first field goal until the 4:52 mark of the fourth quarter, but she came up huge in the closing minutes.
“Just execution,” Loyd said. “I was in the middle of the floor a little bit, my teammates were going to me, so I knew I kinda had to get going. I fed off the energy of the crowd, and shots went it.”
The decisive 12-4 run began after Loyd hit back-to-back triples to help Seattle overcome a five-point deficit.
She would then score on a 10-footer, and after Tina Charles corralled an offensive rebound off a Loyd miss from deep, the former All-American nailed a clutch pull-up from mid-range to give Seattle an 82-81 lead with 38.1 seconds in the game.
From there, Loyd and Breanna Stewart (23 points and 12 rebounds) hit four combined free throws to secure Seattle’s late win.
“The fact that Jewell just stuck with it, that just shows that she’s a vet,” Stewart (23 points and 12 rebounds) said per The AP. “We’re not rookies anymore; we’ve been here for awhile. We know what to do, and we just stick with the gameplay.”
Seattle and Washington will run it back on Sunday.