EVERETT — It felt like déjà vu.
Less than 48 hours after Jewell Loyd buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer in a wild victory over Dallas, the Storm was down a point to the Wings with just 0.7 seconds remaining Sunday afternoon.
This time, Storm coach Noelle Quinn drew up a play for Breanna Stewart and put its fate in the hands of Seattle’s MVP candidate.
However, time expired before Stewart’s 5-foot jumper over Satou Sabally sailed long, hit the back of the rim and rolled off.
So this time, there were no last-second heroics for the Storm, which fell 68-67 in front of 1,930 spectators at Angel of the Winds Arena.
“Similar to the other night,” Stewart said. “They were going to switch everything. I knew I was either going to have them on a seal over the top or just directly in. I turned over my left shoulder and I shot it like I would shoot any other jump shot. That one just didn’t happen to go in. I want to make those shots for our team to get the win, but it didn’t happen. Sometimes we miss.”
And this time, the Wings made the clutch plays at the end, notably Arike Ogunbowale’s dramatic 3-pointer – from 28 feet – despite Jordin Canada’s tight defense.
It was the first defeat in nearly three weeks for the Storm (7-2), which had a six-game winning streak snapped.
“Another one that came down to one possession,” Quinn said. “Not the outcome we wanted.”
After engaging in shootouts in their first two meetings, including the Storm’s 105-102 overtime victory Friday, both teams struggled offensively Sunday during their lowest-scoring performance of the season.
Seattle connected on one of its first 11 shots, which would normally spell disaster if not for Dallas missing nine of its first 11 shots.
The Storm shot just 17.3% from the field in first quarter and trailed 17-13, which were the third fewest points in a period this season for Seattle.
Dallas led 19-15 early in the second quarter when the Storm ripped off an 18-4 run to go up 33-23. Seattle led 33-28 at halftime.
Loyd took over in the third, scoring 13 of her game-high 25 points to help Seattle build a 12-point lead. Her corner three-pointer put the Storm up 51-39 with 3:53 left in the period.
“The last plays of a game, I get why we talk about them, but in this particular game, that’s not the story,” said Sue Bird, who finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists. “The story is us being up 9-10-11 or maybe 12 and not putting them away. Credit to them. They’re not a team that gives in. They’ve proven that multiple times now.
“That to me is the story. That’s when you win a game. When you take a team’s hope away.”
Instead, the Storm began the fourth quarter with a 56-49 lead that quickly disappeared when Ogunbowale (24 points) and Marina Mabrey (15 points) went to work against a Seattle lineup that included five backups.
Isabelle Harrison (14 points) converted a three-point play, which included a flagrant foul on Candice Dupree to knot the score at 56-56 with 7:42 left.
Quinn re-inserted Loyd, Stewart and Bird and each canned three-pointers to give the Storm a little separation and a 65-58 lead during a 9-2 run.
Seattle was up 67-60 with less than two minutes left when its offense fell apart and Ogunbowale finished the game with an 8-0 run, including two rainbow three-pointers.
“We didn’t execute down the stretch,” said Stewart, who finished with 14 points on 5-for-15 shooting, with seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks. “That’s a similar situation that seemed to happen in the last game. We had these moments when we lose our minds a little bit. We can’t let one play effect the other. If we miss it, then we need to get a stop on defense or get a rebound. It’s a tough loss. Credit to Dallas because they are better than what their record is, but we had them.”
Dallas (3-5) dominated Seattle in several categories, including points in the paint (36-16), bench points (35-8) and rebounds (42-34). The Wings also converted all 13 of their free throws while the Storm was 17 of 23 at the line.
Still, Seattle had a chance at the end.
Loyd seemed like an obvious choice to take the last shot considering she’s one of just four players in WNBA history to make multiple game-winning shots at the buzzer.
“I think I was open, but the play was for Stewie,” Loyd said. “We got the shot that we wanted. It just didn’t bounce in. We’ll live with that. I’ll live with the MVP taking the final shot.”
Stewart added: “I should have made the last shot. There’s plenty of moments that you can kind of look back on and just do better individually. As a team, to let them go on an 8-0 run to end the game is never great. That’s something that’s frustrating. We have to be better. I have to be better individually. That’s where it starts.”
The Storm ended a five-game homestand and now embark on a five-game trip starting Wednesday at Atlanta.
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