WASHINGTON — In their rematch against the Mystics, the Storm made mistakes early, mistakes late and had minimal offensive consistency in between. Ultimately, a turnover-plagued start proved too much to overcome, especially when the miscues continued in the final minutes.
Ultimately, Shekinna Stricklen’s career-best scoring performance and a second-half rally could not deny a historic victory.
Seattle committed a season-high 26 turnovers, trailed by double digits throughout and 14 late in the third quarter. Aided by a cluster of three-pointers, the Storm turned the game into a one-possession contest with numerous opportunities to tie or take the lead inside the final 97 seconds.
Instead, there were two shot-clock violations, an errant free throw and three potential game-tying three-pointers missed on the final possession. Instead of a second straight win, the Storm fell to the Mystics 62-59 on Saturday.
“We put ourselves in a hole and it’s a thing we’ve done continuously all season long,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “Sometimes we’ve found a way to fight back, sometimes we don’t. Tonight was one of those times we didn’t.”
Stricklen led the Storm (5-7) with 20 points on four three-pointers. Tina Thompson scored 11 points, but missed 10 of 12 attempts from the field.
“We just have to finish off plays,” Thompson said. “I just feel like every game that we get into, we’re playing more than just our opponents. It’s unfortunate that we can’t go into a game and just play. We had our opportunities and just didn’t capitalize on them.”
The loss, Seattle’s fourth in five games, meant a win for the Mystics and milestone for Washington coach Mike Thibault. With his 212th victory, Thibault became the WNBA’s leader for most coaching wins, passing Van Chancellor.
For much of the game, there appeared little doubt the record would fall. With a combination of poor shooting and 12 first-quarter turnovers, the Storm trailed 21-7 after the opening period, by 18 in the second and 35-21 at halftime.
“When you’re playing at a very inefficient level offensively, it really hurts your defense because you’re playing against a team that is constantly in transition, constantly coming at you,” Agler said.
Not all the numbers were unfortunate — the Storm held Washington to season lows in scoring and field-goal percentage. Just not enough were positive.
The Storm fell to 1-2 on its seasonlong four-game road trip. Seattle faces the New York Liberty on Tuesday.
Crystal Langhorne led the Mystics (6-6) with 12 points.
Last month at KeyArena, the Storm scored its most points this season in beating the Mystics 96-86 in overtime, with Thompson scoring 30 points. Before the rematch, Thibault handed the retiring Thompson a bouquet of roses.