SEATTLE — Jewell Loyd scored 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting and three 3-pointers to pace the Seattle Storm to a 72-63 Friday night victory over the Indiana Fever.
Indiana lost for the 12th time in 13 games and the Storm won for the sixth time in nine home games to improve to 9-4.
For Loyd, it was her sixth consecutive game with 20 or more points. She also added six rebounds and four assists to lead a Storm attack that shot 48 percent from the floor with seven 3-pointers. Indiana, meanwhile, shot 33 percent.
After scoring the game’s first seven points, Seattle held on for a 23-22 lead after one quarter and limited the Fever to just eight points in the second period to carry a 37-30 advantage to the halftime locker room.
The Fever got four of those eight second-quarter points on buckets by Natalie Achonwa and Candice Dupree in the first three minutes of the second quarter for their only leads of the game at 24-23 and 26-25 – but didn’t score again until a Dupree basket ended a 7-0 Indiana drought over four minutes later.
Loyd scored 14 points in the opening half and Dupree nearly matched that figure with 13 on 6-of-8 shooting. The rest of her Fever teammates though, shot just 21 percent (6-of-28) before halftime.
Sue Bird opened the second-half scoring with a pair of free throws for a nine-point Storm advantage, and a Loyd free throw pushed the margin to 12 with 4:47 left in the third. A 3-pointer from Bird made it 53-39 with 3:06 left in the third. Loyd pushed the to 15, the game’s largest, with a jumper and a 63-48 lead with 4:29 to play.
“We did well guarding in our half-court defense,” said Dupree after the loss. “But we didn’t do well in stopping their transition.”
Added Fever coach Pokey Chatman more pointedly, “Our transition D was atrocious and that was our downfall.”
Chatman added, “We forced [Seattle] into 20 turnovers and made them uncomfortable in the halfcourt, but we gave them too many easy opportunities in transition that negated any success we had. There were some quality things we did early on, but we didn’t keep doing them. We need to find ways to sustain the things we do well.”
Breanna Stewart scored 15 points for the Storm and Natasha Howard, drafted by the Fever in 2014, scored 11 with a game-high nine rebounds.
Reserve guard Erica Wheeler added 13 points and four assists for Indiana. Kelsey Mitchell scored 11 points.
The Fever return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday to host Star Wars Night while playing the Connecticut Sun (6:00 p.m.).