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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Storm returns home, drops fourth game since Olympics, falling to Sky

Chicago Sky's Courtney Vandersloot strips the ball from Seattle Storm's Jewell Loyd, but is called for a foul during the fourth quarter of a WNBA basketball game Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, in Everett, Wash.  (Associated Press)
By Andy Yamashita Seattle Times

EVERETT – For 37 minutes, the Seattle Storm kept Allie Quigley quiet.

One of the premier sharpshooters in the WNBA, and the reigning 3-point contest champion, Quigley was nowhere to be seen for most of Friday night’s game between the Storm and the Chicago Sky.

Through three quarters, the Storm held Quigley to just 1 of 7 from the field and a more impressive 1 of 4 from beyond the arc.

But with three minutes left in the game and Chicago down one, Quigley flared over a pin-down screen and took advantage of the small amount of space granted to her by the Storm’s switch, raising up and nailing a 3 over the outstretched arms of Sue Bird.

Quigley’s shot gave Chicago a lead it never surrendered, condemning Seattle to a 73-69 loss. It’s the Storm’s second consecutive loss, and the team’s fourth since the WNBA restart as it chases the No. 2 seed and an automatic berth in the semifinals.

Friday night’s defeat also was the second time the team has lost to Chicago since the Olympic break, although this time, the Storm was at full strength with both Breanna Stewart and Bird playing after sitting out the previous matchup.

Neither team managed to get separation early. Playing through six-time All-Star Candace Parker, the Sky jumped out to an early 11-6 lead. However, an 8-1 Storm run through the final five minutes of the first quarter gave it the edge after the first 10 minutes, highlighted by Jewell Loyd’s inbound steal and finish.

The score stayed close until midway through the second quarter. The Storm starters returned to the court with five minutes left in the half, and Sue Bird immediately hit an open 3-pointer, assisted by Stewart, who found the point guard on a pass out of a Sky double team. A Seattle stop then led to a transition 3 from Loyd. The Storm headed into the break up 32-28, with both teams shooting below 40% from the field in the half.

Chicago and Seattle continued to exchange baskets for much of the third quarter, as both teams struggled from three-point range, but the Storm was given a boost following the introductions of guard Jordin Canada and center Ezi Magbegor. Canada, the UCLA alum, added six points and two assists to lead the Storm’s second unit, while the Australian put up eight points on 50% shooting.

The Sky continued to hang around though. Less than two weeks after beating Seattle in overtime, Chicago kept itself in the game. Kahleah Copper led the team with 26 points, while Azura Stevens had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Parker also contributed eight points, while Stefanie Dolson poured in 12 points off the Sky bench. Former Gonzaga standout Courtney Vandersloot totaled seven points and eight assists for the Sky.

But with the game still close heading into the final minutes, the Storm had to lean on its MVP candidate. Stewart bullied her way into the paint time and again, attempting six free throws in the fourth quarter despite an off shooting night.

Celebrating her 27th birthday, Stewart scored 18 points on 4 of 13 shooting, to go along with eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. She was joined in double digits by Loyd, who scored 12 on 35.7% shooting, while Bird added eight points and four assists and was the only player on the Storm to hit more than one three-pointer. Center Mercedes Russell had 11 points and seven rebounds.

It wasn’t enough though, as Quigley’s three-pointer and two Copper transition layups and a clutch steal secured the win for Chicago.

Seattle has a chance to avenge its loss in two days as the teams play again at 3 p.m. Sunday at Angel of the Winds Arena.