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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Breanna Stewart gives Storm the cure for the Fever

Percy Allen Seattle Times

Breanna Stewart did almost anything she wanted against an outmatched Indiana Fever opponent that was helpless to stop her.

The Storm star feasted at the free-throw line while connecting on 10 of 12 shots and finished with 20 points to lead Seattle to a 73-57 victory in front of 8,565 at Climate Pledge Arena.

Stewart and Seattle’s smothering defense overwhelmed a perpetually rebuilding Indiana team with six rookies and an interim coach that came into Friday’s game last in the WNBA standings and riding a three-game losing streak.

The Storm (13-7) dominated the Fever, which resides at the bottom of the standings at 5-17, in nearly every statistical category.

Before the game, coach Noelle Quinn challenged the Storm to avoid a letdown following Wednesday’s double-digit win against the league-leading Las Vegas Aces.

“The opponent is different, but the principles don’t change in what we do,” Quinn said. “The standard doesn’t change in what we want to do. Our energy level and attentiveness to detail doesn’t change.

“Not (disrespecting) your opponent and understanding every single night anyone is capable of getting beat no matter what records show and indicate. It’s a matter of our mindset is a level of competitiveness and energy and all of those things that matter when you have to play teams who on paper aren’t at the level that we’re supposed to be at.”

Quinn referenced the Storm’s flat effort last Saturday which largely contributed to an 85-77 upset defeat against the Los Angeles Sparks who had been struggling.

“Just didn’t quite execute,” Quinn said. “Just didn’t have the intensity and the focus and energy level. We can’t get bored with being great and the little details in everything that matters when it to winning games in this league.”

Stewart made sure the Storm finished their four-game homestand with a win.

The 6-foot-4 forward rebounded from a lackluster outing in her previous gamer and had little difficulty against Fever rookie NaLyssa Smith while tallying six rebounds, four steals and three assists in 22 minutes.

Stewart scored 18 points in the first half when the Storm took a 46-27 lead into the break.

Seattle held Indiana to 29.4% shooting while converting 50% at the half.

The Storm stretched their lead to 27 points (63-36) when Tina Charles sank a jumper with 1:41 left in the third quarter.

Williams, who scored seven of her 10 points in the third, provided key plays on both ends of the court. She also had two steals.

Queen Egbo had a team-high 14 points for Indiana, which had a season low in points.