Already back in championship form, the Seattle Storm will try to continue such efforts Sunday when they resume the regular season in Chicago with a matchup against the Sky.
Their Thursday night victory in the first WNBA Commissioner’s Cup did not count in the standings, but Storm were impressive in thrashing the Connecticut Sun 79-57. Seattle established a 10-point lead in the first quarter and never looked back, leading by as many as 31 points in the second half.
Seattle’s three representatives on the U.S. Olympic team that mined gold in Tokyo led the way in the Cup finals.
Breanna Stewart scored a game-high 17 points, including 15 in the first quarter. Jewell Loyd had 16 points and Sue Bird added 10 to go along with five assists.
“I think that despite being jet-lagged and stuff, once we got warmed up, it was a regular-scheduled program, I would say,” Stewart said. “We were just aggressive. We knew what this game meant.”
What it meant was a nice boost to their banking accounts. For winning the game, each member of the Storm pocketed $30,000. As the game’s Most Valuable Player, Stewart earned an extra $5,000.
Now Seattle (16-5) aims to put itself in the best position to repeat last year’s WNBA title. It enters the season’s unofficial second half with the league’s best record.
“We have to set the tone and this game did that for us,” coach Noelle Quinn said. “It was a tune-up for what we can do on the road.”
Meanwhile, Chicago (10-10) looks to make a push for playoff positioning down the stretch. It has won eight of 11 games after a slow start, thanks largely to the return of veteran Candace Parker from a sprained ankle that kept her out for eight games.
Parker averaged 19.5 points in her two games in July before the extended break for the Olympics, is scoring 13.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists on the season. The Sky have five players averaging double-figure scoring for the season, led by Kahleah Copper at 13.8 points per game.
–Field Level Media