Epiphanny Prince scored 17 points, Sylvia Fowles had 16 points and 15 rebounds and the Sky dominated the Storm on the boards.
ROSEMONT, Ill. — Although the Storm fared well in some areas against the WNBA’s most improved team, it failed miserably in the one department that proved decisive — the glass.
A huge rebounding disparity early in the fourth quarter was the difference as the Storm fell 74-58 to the Chicago Sky on Wednesday.
The Storm (1-7) dropped its fourth straight despite shooting more free throws (16-5), committing fewer turnovers (15-12) and limiting Epiphanny Prince, the WNBA’s leading scorer, to 17 points — 8.3 below her average.
None of that mattered because the Sky (7-1), which got 16 points and 15 boards from Sylvia Folwes, finished with a 44-21 edge on the glass. Eighteen Chicago offensive rebounds led to a 25-4 advantage in second-chance points.
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“We knew that was going to be a big thing, it wasn’t going to be easy, and we didn’t take care of it,” Storm point guard Sue Bird said.
Ann Wauters finished with 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds, but no other Storm player had more than four boards.
“Sylvia is a beast out there,” Wauters said. “I was trying my best to block her out, but sometimes she’s so strong and athletic that she can still go and get it.”
Still, the final score was deceiving because Seattle sliced an 11-point deficit to 54-50 entering the fourth quarter. And a comeback looked possible when Fowles was injured and had to leave near the start of the period.
But Chicago got contributions from unlikely sources in the decisive fourth. Carolyn Swords had two offensive rebounds and fellow reserve Tamera Young scored eight of her 12 points during a 16-3 surge that made it 70-53 with 2:48 left.
The Sky grabbed the first seven rebounds of the final quarter.
“We were four points down and all of a sudden we have a couple of possessions where we don’t get stops and they get some loose balls, some offensive rebounds and it completely changed the game,” Wauters said.
Tina Thompson came off the bench for a team-high 13 points and Bird added eight points and 10 assists. Bird’s shooting woes continued as she missed all three three-point attempts, dropping her career-worst percentage to 27.1.
“As somebody who shoots the ball, it’s happened to everybody at some point,” Bird said. “It’s not going to fix itself if I stop shooting. I gotta go out there and shoot with confidence and try to knock them down.”
Playing against the Storm for the first time since being traded to the Sky, Swin Cash missed all eight shots in the first half and finished with five points and four rebounds.
Sky 74, Storm 58
Percentages: FG .377, FT .875. Three-point goals: 4-16, .250 (Thompson 3-4, Wright 1-2, Kobryn 0-1, Little 0-1, Wauters 0-2, Bird 0-3, Smith 0-3). Team rebounds: 5. Team turnovers: 14 (15 PTS). Blocked shots: 2 (Kobryn, Stricklen). Turnovers: 12 (Bird 4, Little 2, Thompson 2, Smith, Stricklen, Wauters, Wright). Steals: 9 (Stricklen 2, Thompson 2, Wauters 2, Bird, Little, Wright).
Percentages: FG .444, FT .400. Three-point goals: 8-18, .444 (Prince 4-8, Riley 2-2, Cash 1-3, Willingham 1-3, Petrovic 0-1, Vandersloot 0-1). Team rebounds: 8. Team turnovers: 17 (16 PTS). Blocked shots: 3 (Petrovic, Prince, Swords). Turnovers: 15 (Fowles 3, Cash 2, Prince 2, Riley 2, Swords 2, Willingham 2, Petrovic, Vandersloot). Steals: 8 (Vandersloot 3, Fowles 2, Cash, Prince, Riley).
|Seattle||13||18||19||8 — 58|
|Chicago||20||20||14||20 — 74|
Attendance: 4,681 (7,000). Time: 1:47. Officials: Byron Jarrett, Maj Forsberg, Eric Brewton.