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Storm falls in Chicago, 78-74

Stewart paces Seattle with 24 points

CHICAGO—Breanna Stewart scored 13 of her game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter and Jewel Loyd scored 18 points in the game, but Seattle was unable to knock off the top team in the league, falling 78-74 at Chicago on Wednesday afternoon at Wintrust Arena.

The Storm sees its four-game winning streak snapped with the loss and falls to 17-9 on the season. The Sky improves to 20-6 and clinches the first playoff berth in the league this season.

Two of the top three teams in the WNBA once again put on an impressive showing nearly two months after Seattle held on for a 74-71 win against the Sky in Seattle. But this battle did not go the Storm’s way as Chicago held off repeated runs by Seattle to win its fourth-straight game against the Storm at Wintrust.

Stewart rallied the troops in the second half, scoring 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting including 2-of-3 from three-point range over the final 20 minutes. She finished with 20+ points for the 12th time this season and extended her streak of games in double-figures to 24.

Loyd tallied 18 points in the game, once again scoring at least 17 points in nine career WNBA games in her hometown of Chicago. She added five rebounds, four assists, and two steals in the contest. Tina Charles came off the bench to add 11 points with nine coming in the third quarter. Sue Bird also had a solid third quarter with seven points to finish with nine in the game.

Seattle got off to a hot start in the game, opening the game on a 12-2 run, connecting on 5-of-7 to open things up. But Chicago came roaring back, using a 13-0 run to take its first lead of the game at 15-14 with 1:16 left in the quarter. The two would trade buckets with the Storm tying the score at 19-19 on a last-second layup by Stephanie Talbot.

In the second, Chicago continued its run in the early going, outscoring the Storm 11-2 through the first five minutes to take a 30-21 lead. After opening the quarterback hitting just 1-of-10 from the field, Seattle hit four of its next five shots with a Loyd three-pointer pulling the Storm to within two with 1:38 left and trailed 35-31 at the half.

The Storm used and 8-2 run early in the third quarter to tie the game at 39-39 with 7:07 left in the period. Chicago would answer with seven-straight points and went up 46-39 just under two minutes later. Charles and Bird kept Seattle close through the rest of the period with Charles tallying nine points and Bird seven in the period. Seattle stayed close, but still ended the third down 56-52.

The Sky opened the fourth by outscoring Seattle 11-5 over the first three minutes, taking a 67-57 lead at the 6:25 mark. Seattle responded with an 8-2 run to make it a four-point game again at 69-65 on an Ezi Magbegor layup with 4:34 to play. The Storm closed to within two on a layup by Stewart with 2:10 to play, but after making three defensive stops, could not find the tying bucket as Chicago held on for the win.

The Storm closes out its brief two-game road trip at Phoenix on Friday, July 22, facing the Mercury for the final time this season at 7:00 pm PT at Footprint Center.

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