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Storm dominate OT to defeat struggling Liberty

Sportsnaut
Sep 29, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, USA; A game ball waits on a sanitation cart during game 5 of the WNBA semifinals between the Connecticut Suns and the Las Vegas Aces at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Breanna Stewart had 31 points and nine rebounds as the short-handed Seattle Storm held off the visiting New York Liberty 79-71 in overtime Friday night.

Jewell Loyd added 21 points and Briann January had 11 for the Storm (4-3), who won their third straight game despite playing without Sue Bird, Ezi Magbegor and Stephanie Talbot. They entered the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocol.

Natasha Howard had 19 points and nine rebounds, Han Xu scored 12 and Stefanie Dotson and Rebecca Allen scored 11 each for the Liberty (1-6), who lost their sixth straight and will visit Seattle again Sunday.

The Storm didn’t make a field goal in the final 6:22 of the fourth quarter, but Stewart made their first attempt in overtime, a tie-breaking 3-pointer.

January added another 3-pointer and Stewart made two free throws for a 75-69 lead with 1:55 left.

Allen made two free throws, but New York didn’t score again.

Loyd had five points as the Storm scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to take a 59-51 lead.

The Liberty went scoreless for nearly the first four minutes before Howard made a jumper to end the drought and start a 9-0 run that gave New York a 60-59 lead.

Stewart made one of two free throws to end a 4 1/2-minute scoring drought for Seattle and tie the score.

The score was tied again before Loyd made two free throws to give the Storm a 64-62 lead with 36 seconds left.

Allen made a 3-pointer and a layup to tie the score with 4.8 seconds left.

Seattle had a chance to regain the lead, but Gabby Williams missed two free throws with 2.3 seconds left, leading to overtime.

The Liberty missed their first 12 3-pointers before Sabrina Ionescu made one to get them within nine points early in the third quarter.

They made six more 3-pointers to get within 52-51 at the end of the period.

–Field Level Media