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Storm holds off Mystics 82-77 to clinch playoff spot

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

Breanna Stewart scored 18 points and Jewell Lloyd added 17 as the visiting Seattle Storm defeated the Washington Mystics 82-77 on Saturday to clinch a playoff berth.

Tina Charles had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Storm (19-11), who have advanced to the playoffs for the seventh-consecutive season, winning WNBA titles in 2018 and 2020 during that run. It is also Seattle’s 18th playoff berth in 23 seasons.

Elena Della Donne scored 22 points for the Mystics (18-12), while Ariel Atkins scored 13 points.

It was the first of two-consecutive games between the teams, with the rematch set for Sunday at Washington.

Tied 35-35 at halftime, the Storm went in front 57-55 through three quarters. The Storm appeared to take control with a 13-0 run to open the fourth quarter, taking a 70-55 advantage. But the Mystics roared back on a 14-4 run to cut the deficit to 74-69 with 2:04 remaining.

A 3-pointer from Washington’s Alysha Clark with 26.3 seconds remaining cut the Storm’s lead to a single point at 78-77. Seattle sealed the victory on four free throws from Stewart over the final 11.8 seconds.

Stewart, the league’s leading scorer at 21.0 points per game, was just 4 of 11 from the field but did go 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. Seattle’s Sue Bird, who is now guaranteed to go to the playoffs in her final season, had four points and seven assists in 29 minutes.

Shakira Austin had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Mystics, while Natasha Cloud had 10 points and 11 assists.

Seattle shot 42.6 percent from the field while the Mystics shot 41.8 percent.

Washington jumped out to a 28-19 lead with 7:50 to go in the first half, but the Storm finished the second quarter on a 16-7 run to even the score at the midway point.

Washington had eight blocks, including three from Delle Donne and Myisha Hines-Allen, but the Mystics still saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.

–Field Level Media