Jewell Loyd outscored the New York Liberty in the third quarter by herself Wednesday night.
But Loyd and the Seattle Storm couldn’t close things out in the fourth quarter, blowing a 10-point lead and losing 83-79 in the first of their two-game series in New York.
They’ll attempt to salvage a split of the two games Friday night when they meet again at Barclays Center.
Loyd’s 21-point third quarter not only gave Seattle (16-7) a 72-62 lead, it also gave her the third-highest period in WNBA history. Only Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi in 2006 and Atlanta’s Brittney Sykes in 2019 tallied more, scoring 22 in a quarter.
But Loyd cooled rapidly in the fourth quarter as the Storm tallied only seven points. Loyd missed all seven of her attempts from the field as coach Noelle Quinn kept running plays for her.
“I’m old school,” Quinn said. “I was taught to milk the cow. When somebody is cooking like that, the basket was wide open for her. I don’t think you divert. I think you continue to go to what’s getting you a bucket.
“You go until you cool off. And for us, she cooled off in that fourth when we needed her.”
Meanwhile, the Liberty (11-12) overcame a double-figure deficit and snapped a three-game losing streak with their first win since the Olympic break. It was also the first of a five-game homestand for them — all against Western Conference foes.
While Seattle couldn’t get Loyd going again when it mattered most, New York opted for a more balanced effort. It put four players in double figures, getting 17 points each from Betnijah Laney and reserve Rebecca Allen, plus 10 apiece from Sabrina Ionescu and Natasha Howard.
Laney, who added seven rebounds and eight assists to her stat line, put the Liberty ahead for good by canning a pull-up jumper with 17.6 seconds remaining.
The status of Storm stars Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird isn’t known. They have missed their team’s last two games to get rest after the Tokyo Olympics.
–Field Level Media