Last-seconds basket keeps Mercury winless
PHOENIX — Jewell Loyd banked in a 12-footer with 2.9 seconds remaining for the last of her career-high 30 points in the Seattle Storm’s 81-80 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Friday night.
After Phoenix missed a pair of shots, Seattle got the ball back with 12 seconds left. Loyd got the ball on the right wing, almost lost it as she started to dribble toward the basket, then regained control and hit a fadeaway jumper for just the second lead for the Storm.
Diana Taurasi’s long, contested 3-pointer at the buzzer wasn’t close.
Seattle (1-1), ranked ninth in the AP preseason power poll, won despite two turnovers and giving up two offensive rebounds in the last 90 seconds. Jewell’s 15-footer with 40 seconds left, after Taurasi missed two long 3-point attempts, made it 80-79. Then Taurasi missed another 3 and Candice Dupree couldn’t connect in the lane.
Sue Bird added 17 points for Seattle, and rookie Breanna Stewart, the overall No. 1 draft pick, had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Taurasi had 23 points with six 3-pointers, and Brittney Griner added 19 points for Phoenix (0-3), which was second in the poll.
Phoenix led 23-12 after the first quarter but in the second the Storm made seven 3-pointers, three each from Bird and Loyd, and the Mercury’s lead was 43-37 at the half.
Bird’s two free throws gave Seattle its first lead, 51-50, midway through a third quarter that saw the Storm make 13 of 15 from the line but the Mercury made 7 of 9 from the line and led 61-58 entering the fourth quarter. The teams ended up a combined 44 of 50 from the foul line.