Washington extends win streak to five while snapping the Storm’s in 100-77 win
Delle Donne leads Washington with 30 points and six rebounds
— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) August 9, 2018
WASHINGTON – The Washington Mystics handed the Seattle Storm their worst loss of the season winning 100-77 as 6,808 Camp Day participants watched in Capital One Arena.
“We had great energy to start the game,” Washington head coach Mike Thibault said on the win. “We’re still in the hunt for what we’re trying to get, a top two seed.”
Both team’s Natasha’s kicked off their offense. Washington guard Natasha Cloud had the first five points of the game while Seattle forward Natasha Howard attacked the paint for six points. All Mystics starters scored before the end of the first quarter.
Washington led Seattle 31-18 at the end of the first period. Smooth ball movement and tempo helped the Mystics dominate in the game while the Storm searched for defensive stops.
Seattle’s stingy ball movement slowed scoring and hindered Storm leaders guard Sue Bird and forward Breanna Stewart from peaking. They combined for 13 points at the end of the first half. Ball movement helped Washington’s LaToya Sanders steer through Seattle’s defense for quiet points. She made her mark early with 15 points at the half. Eight Mystics contributed to Washington’s 57-40 halftime lead.
Washington learned their lesson from blowing their double-digit lead against Phoenix August 7. Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne became unstoppable sinking back-to-back threes to open the second half. Washington doubled down on defense to keep their momentum and capitalized on Seattle’s shooting woes. Delle Donne dominated with 14 points in the third quarter.
Starting Storm guard Jewell Loyd and bench forward Mercedes Russell emerged as Seattle fought against their 17-point deficit. The Storm bench entered the third quarter as Russell and guard Jordan Canada closed out the game. The Storm shot 41 percent overall. Their reliable three-point shooting withered to 35 percent in the lopsided loss. Washington’s efficient shooting kept them in good standing. They finished the game with 57 percent shooting while sinking 12-of-26 three pointers in the game.
“They shot the ball well early and then they went into the paint a little bit as we got spread out,” Seattle head coach Dan Hughes said. “They really made shots – they made them from the perimeter [and] they also made them in penetration modes. They executed well and played extremely well.”
The game comes during a critical time as the team standings are finalized before the end of the regular season August 19. Seattle still stands atop the league with the WNBA’s best record at 23-8. The statement win for the Mystics showed flowing chemistry and thriving momentum while heading deep in the final stretch of the season.
Four Mystics starters scored in double figures while Aerial Powers played in her first home game since the Washington-Dallas trade July 23. Her fearless presence on offense helped the ongoing offense with six points.
Washington’s LaToya Sanders capped a perfect 6-of-6 from the field for a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double before sitting in the fourth quarter. Delle Donne finished with the game high of 30 points and six rebounds. Washington recorded 23 assists as Cloud recorded the team’s high of eight.
“LaToya Sanders has been as good as any other forward in the league for the last six or seven weeks,” Thibault said. “Tonight she’s perfect from the floor, double figure rebounds. She and Natasha Cloud may be the two most improved players in the league besides [Seattle’s] Natasha [Howard].”
“I don’t think it’s specifically her defense, she’s that type of player that is a glue player,” Storm guard Sue Bird lauded about Sanders. “She does all the little things, she plays defense, she obviously can score, but it’s the little things: the loose balls, the offensive rebounds [and] seems to be in the right place at the right time all the time. Those players are extremely valuable.”
Howard and Loyd finished with 15 points each for the Storm. Loyd also had four assists. Stewart added 10 points plus three rebounds.
Both Washington and Seattle have clinched playoffs spots as Washington races against Los Angeles and Atlanta for the semifinal bye.
“We didn’t want to send a message, but we are a good team,” Sanders said. “We are contending for a championship and getting a top two seed with the double bye to the semis. We’re focused on ourselves. That’s our biggest opponents.”
Washington looks to continue their five-game winning streak and home court against the Dallas Wings August 12. Seattle finishes their four-game road trip the same day against the Minnesota Lynx who are on the prowl for playoff contention.
- Washington has now defeated every team in the league
- Washington recorded their season high 31 team assists
- Seattle remains the number one team in the league
- Points in the Paint: Washington: 36 Seattle: 24
- 2nd Chance Points: Washington: 13 Seattle: 7
- Fast Break Points: Washington: 0 Seattle: 2