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After Game 1 offensive outburst, defense carries Storm to 2-0 lead

Seattle Storm coach Dan Hughes wouldn’t have minded if Breanna Stewart had made the two free throws with 16.9 seconds remaining in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals that could have given his team a more comfortable three-point lead. But he found it appropriate that the Storm’s hopes of victory Sunday hinged on stopping the Washington Mystics on a vital possession.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“This is a team that’s grown defensively,” Hughes said postgame. “They have grown. All year, you watched the defensive numbers: better, better, better, better. I thought it was only poetic that some of these most important games are going to come down to a stop.”

Spoiler alert: Seattle got that stop, taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Sue Bird stripped Kristi Toliver from behind — controversially so — and Natasha Howard won the ensuing jump ball, giving the Storm possession. After Alysha Clark split two free throws, the Mystics were left without a timeout and got only a desperation 60-foot attempt from Ariel Atkins at the buzzer, producing the final 75-73 margin.5

This was the kind of game past Storm teams, dependent on outscoring the opposition with efficient offense, would have had a difficult time winning. After Seattle’s offense clicked on all cylinders during a double-digit Game 1 victory on Friday, Washington was able to hold the Storm to 42 percent shooting Sunday, including 6-of-23 accuracy from 3-point range. The Seattle backcourt of Bird and Jewell Loyd shot a combined 8-of-27, missing six 3s apiece.

“We could score. That wasn’t a problem,” said Bird. “We had a problem getting the stops. And when we did get the stops, we had a problem getting the rebound. That’s been the tale of this season. That’s what’s been a part of the turnaround. So in some ways, it’s fitting that we won a game with our defense. Definitely says a lot about our team that we just kind of hung in there. It was a tough, gritty game.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

For one quarter, it looked as though despite adjustments by the Mystics, Game 2 might follow a similar script to Game 1. Behind 11 points in the first seven minutes from MVP Breanna Stewart, the Storm led by nine and looked on their way to another potent offensive outing.