Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird returned from a two-game layoff Friday night to help the Seattle Storm claim a 99-83 victory against the New York Liberty at the Barclays Center.
Seattle certainly welcomed the return of its superstars, who combined for 29 points, but it was Jewell Loyd’s third straight superlative performance that allowed the Storm to halt a two-game skid.
Loyd came into the game on an offensive tear while scoring 26 and a career-high tying 35 points in the previous two outings.
Still, the Storm lost both games, which were decided by fewer than four points, including an 83-79 defeat to New York on Wednesday.
In the Liberty rematch, Loyd continued to remain red hot, especially from the perimeter where she drained 7 of 9 3-pointers for a game-high 29 points.
Loyd’s seven 3s tied the franchise record for most in a game. She also had five rebounds and four assists in 31 minutes.
With their Big Three intact, the Storm avoided their first three-game losing streak and improved to 17-7.
Stewart finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Bird added 10 points and six assists. Jordin Canada and Ezi Magbegor chipped in 10 points off the bench.
In the first half, the Storm drained 9 of 12 3-pointers while the Liberty converted 6 of 14.
The Storm committed 12 turnovers and went into the break down 47-46.
The Storm essentially put the game away in the third quarter while outscoring the Liberty 30-16 to take a 76-63 lead.
New York (11-13) never got closer than 12 points in the fourth.
Sami Whitcomb, the former Storm sharpshooter, led New York with 26 points. Whitcomb connected on 5 of 9 3-pointers, including a 37-footer from the Barclays Center logo that sailed over Bird and beat the shot-clock buzzer.
Sabrina Ionescu added 16 points while Rebecca Allen had 13 and Natasha Howard 11 for the Liberty. The Storm’s five-game road trip continues at Washington on Sunday against the Mystics.
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