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

Fresh off new extension, Ezi Magbegor powers Storm past Mercury

By Percy Allen Seattle Times

Earlier in the day, Ezi Magbegor surprised Storm teammates with news about her future with the team.

“I just wanted you guys to hear it from me before it gets announced tonight, but I’m signing back with Seattle,” she said after Tuesday morning’s shootaround, which elicited high-pitched screams and hugs from several players.

Later that night, Magbegor scored a season-high 21 points and the short-handed Storm held off the Phoenix Mercury for an 80-62 victory in their Commissioner’s Cup opener.

Skylar Diggins-Smith had 17 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals while Jewell Loyd finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists while Victoria Vivians had a season-high 10 points and seven rebounds.

“Seattle is where I want to be,” said Magbegor who tallied nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals. “I’m just happy that I’ll be around.”

The Storm (6-3), who have won five straight games, were without forward Nneka Ogwumike, who injured her eye in Monday’s practice and missed her third game of the season.

Magbegor outscored the Mercury in the first quarter while connecting on all six of her shots and staking the Storm to a 25-12 lead.

In the period, Seattle held Phoenix to 25% shooting from the field, including 1 for 8 on three-pointers.

The Storm extended their lead to 43-22 following a couple of free throws from Vivians with 4:13 left in the second quarter, but the Mercury finished the period with an 11-6 run and Seattle was up 46-33 at the break.

Late in the second quarter, Mercury guard Kahleah Copper drove on a fastbreak and delivered what appeared to be an inadvertent elbow that struck Diggins-Smith in the face and bloodied her lip. Copper was given a technical foul.

The Storm regained control and went up 55-33 with 5:35 left in the third quarter after Mercedes Russell’s floater.

The Mercury never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way.

Copper led Phoenix (4-6) with 19 points and seven rebounds while Natasha Cloud had six rebounds and five assists. Diana Taurasi finished with seven points on 3-for-12 shooting.

On Friday, the Storm play the two-time defending WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces (4-2) in the first of two road games, including Sunday’s contest versus the Minnesota Lynx (6-2).

The Aces haven’t played a Commissioner’s Cup game while the Lynx are 1-0.