SEATTLE – On a night Jewell Loyd shared the court with four Team USA Olympians and a handful of players with more than two dozen WNBA All-Star appearances, the second-year Storm guard was clearly the best player on the floor.
Two weeks after delivering a then-personal-best scoring performance during an upset win at Phoenix, Loyd carried Seattle to a 95-81 victory over the Mercury, snapping a two-game skid for the Storm.
Loyd, who continued her pursuit for her first All-WNBA recognition and potentially a late inclusion on the USA Olympic team heading to the Rio Games, scored a career-high 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting.
Paired against Diana Taurasi, the 2009 MVP and one of the league’s premier players, Loyd sank four 3-pointers. She also had nine rebounds, three assists and two steals in 29 minutes.
The Storm (3-4) also received a virtuoso performance from Breanna Stewart, who nearly notched her first triple-double. The rookie star finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Seattle’s young stars collaborated on a pair of plays – two touch passes from Stewart to Loyd – which produced highlight layups that entertained the crowd of 6,510 at KeyArena.
Sue Bird added 14 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals for Seattle, which scored the most points this season.
Jenna O’Hea, who started her second straight game, had 14 points and four 3-pointers.
Seattle took the lead early in the first quarter and led 49-44 at halftime.
The Storm weathered a relentless offensive attack from the Mercury who repeatedly used its superior height to pound the ball inside.
Despite surrendering four inches to 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner, Stewart held her own against the three-time WNBA All-Star.
Bird, a 5-10 point guard, held off 6-4 DeWanna Bonner in the post.
Seattle outscored Phoenix 27-21 in the third quarter and held on for its most lopsided win this season.
Penny Taylor scored 19 for Phoenix (2-5) and Griner had 13.
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