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Hot Storm look to rain on Dream’s day

May 29, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (30) dribbles the ball against the New York Liberty at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

By Tina Charles’ high standards, a nine-point, eight-rebound game Friday night in the Seattle Storm’s 73-57 win over Indiana doesn’t sound like much.

But it was enough to boost the 12-year WNBA star into fourth all-time in league scoring with 6,902 points, seven more than Candice Dupree.

In her third game with Seattle after leaving the struggling Phoenix Mercury, Charles will try to find more of a rhythm Sunday when the Storm start a three-game road trip against the Atlanta Dream in College Park, Ga.

It was the eighth win in 10 games for Seattle (13-7), which is in the middle of a stretch of six straight games against sub-.500 teams.

“We’re the ones that’s going to set the tone for the game no matter who we’re playing,” said Storm forward Breanna Stewart. “We respect all of our opponents equally and know it’s more about us than it is about them.”

Stewart helped Seattle take care of business against Indiana, scoring a game-high 20 points while adding six rebounds and four steals in just 24 minutes. The Storm established a 46-27 halftime lead and never looked back.

Stewart is pacing Seattle with 21.4 points per game as well as 7.5 rebounds. Jewell Loyd (16.4 points per game) and Ezi Magbegor (12.0) are also scoring in double figures.

Meanwhile, Atlanta (9-11) is coming off a much-needed 92-81 overtime win Thursday night in New York. It was just the second victory in nine games for the Dream, which got off to a 7-4 start.

Tiffany Hayes returned from a right knee injury to score 21 points in her season debut, offering an immediate offensive boost. She has been a double-figure scorer in eight of her nine years with Atlanta and her presence was missed during their recent struggles.

And Hayes said she is glad to be back with the team, which underwent offseason changes in the front office as Hayes re-signed as a free agent.

“Everybody can see the changes, and I’m just glad I’m able to be here and be a part of it,” Hayes said Thursday following her 8-of-15 performance. “Definitely wanted to stay in Atlanta for as long as I could.

“Me going out there and doing my thing is probably a thank you for them coming in and making those changes. Just happy to be here.”

Rookie Rhyne Howard is averaging 15.3 points per game and was named to the All-Star Game, but her shooting percentage has dropped off to 36.8 percent.

This will be the teams’ second meeting of the year. The Storm got 26 points from Loyd on June 7 in a 72-60 home victory.

–Field Level Media