Sports

Jewell Loyd steals the show as Mystics miss the mark in Seattle

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SEATTLE — The season’s first meeting between the Washington Mystics and Seattle Storm had plenty of storylines coming in. Elena Delle Donne vs. Breanna Stewart. Alysha Clark returning to face her former team for the first time. Sue Bird playing her first home game since announcing her retirement plans.

Apparently, no one told Jewell Loyd the evening wasn’t supposed to be about her.

Loyd buried a season-high six triples and finished with 22 points in an 85-71 victory over the Mystics. Washington (11-9) has now lost three of its last four, including the first two of this three-game road trip, with the finale Saturday in Las Vegas.

The Storm closed the game on a 14-2 run after the Mystics cut the lead to two points. To end the first half, Washington gave up a 10-0 run after taking a one-point lead. Every time the Mystics put together a run to eat into a lead, or take it outright, the Storm answered.

The night was another subpar offensive performance as Washington shot 37.1 percent, though Coach Mike Thibault liked the shots his players got.

“We missed shots,” Thibault said. “They got transition run-outs. We made some bad transition-defensive decisions. They threw [it] over our head and got some layups because of it. It’s 20-4 in fast break points and most of those came off our turnovers. They literally outran us.

“You can’t have a 37 percent shooting night. You can get open shots against a good team and you’ve got to make those shots if you want to win. It’s that simple. … The game was invented to put the ball through the basket.”

Mystics’ Alysha Clark returns to Seattle, the city that launched her career

Delle Done posted 20 points and four rebounds. Clark added 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists, and surpassed 2,000 career points. Myisha Hines-Allen scored 12 off the bench. Natasha Cloud’s eight assists gave her 22 straight games with five-plus assists, the third-longest streak in WNBA history.

The Mystics had no answer for Ezi Magbegor, who finished with 20 points, while Stewart nearly had a triple-double with 19 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Bird had 12 points and eight assists.

“It was just miscues on defense,” Clark said. “And Seattle is the type of team that if you aren’t locked in and make mistakes like that, they capitalize off them.”

Mystics center Elizabeth Williams missed the game to attend the NBA draft, where her brother Mark Williams was selected No. 15 overall by the Charlotte Hornets. The team had already agreed to allow her to attend when she signed as a free agent during the offseason.

Bird got a rousing applause to start the game. It was a big week for Bird: She was named a starter for her WNBA-record 13th All-Star Game and revealed that this season will be the end.

“I think that the best part about saying it out loud is it really just reconfirmed that it’s the right decision for me,” Bird said. “Now that the announcement has been made and the initial hoopla has been made, and in terms of media and fan support, I still feel really confident in the choice. And I think that’s a really good thing. I think that’s telling that I was ready for this. So it’s been really nice to share that with other people.”


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