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WATCH: Seattle Storm beat Washington Mystics, spoil return of Elena Delle Donne

Seattle Storm, Washington Mystics
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

In their road to a second straight WNBA championship as the second half of the season winds down, the Seattle Storm pick up an 85-78 road victory over the Washington Mystics.

Seattle now improves to 18-7 moving just a half game back of the Connecticut Sun and the Las Vegas Aces who are each tied for the best record in the WNBA.

This win makes the Storm the only team to win 10 road games so far this season. They are also one of only two teams in the WNBA with a record above .500 that has more road wins than home wins (Phoenix Mercury).

The loss for the Mystics spoils the return of their star forward Elena Delle Donne who had not played since leading Washington to their first WNBA title in franchise history in 2019 due to multiple back surgeries.

This is the third loss in a row for the Washington Mystics who now drop to 8-14. Since June 24, the Mystics have lost seven of their last eight games with this loss now dropping them 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Sparks who currently hold what would be the final playoff spot.

Breanna Stewart led the Storm recording her 12th double-double this season with 20 points and 12 rebounds while adding five blocks and two steals.

Mercedes Russell and Ezi Magbegor each scored 14 points with the former shooting 75% from the field adding eight rebounds while the latter shot 7-for-8 from the field adding three blocks. Katie Lou Samuelson scored 10 points.

After averaging 30.0 points in each of the Storm’s three games since returning from the Olympic break, Jewell Loyd finally cooled down scoring just eight points on 2-for-12 shooting from the field and 0-for-5 from three-point range.

WNBA leading scorer Tina Charles finished with 20 points for the Mystics adding nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. Elena Delle Donne played 22 minutes in her return scoring 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting.

Natasha Cloud posted 11 points, nine assists and four rebounds while Ariel Atkins had 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Myisha Hines-Allen scored just eight points on a rough 4-for-12 shooting but did add a career-high 17 rebounds.

After a hot start by the Mystics getting out to a 16-4 run in the first five minutes of the game, the Storm outscored the Mystics 39-17 the remainder of the half to take the lead. This included a second quarter that saw the Mystics struggle shooting 22% from the field compared to the Storm shooting 59%.

The Mystics would go on brief runs in the second half, eventually seeing them take a 74-73 lead with 3:32 remaining in the fourth quarter. Delle Donne and Charles were huge catalysts in the Mystics’ run scoring 14 points and 12 points respectively in the second half. However, the Storm answered outscoring the Mystics 12-4 to secure the win.

Both teams will be back in action on Tuesday with the Storm facing the Minnesota Lynx on the road while the Mystics will remain at home playing the Los Angeles Sparks.