EVERETT — It felt like déjà vu.
Less than 48 hours after Jewell Loyd buried a three-pointer at the buzzer in a wild victory over Dallas, the Storm was down a point to the Wings with just 0.7 seconds remaining Sunday afternoon.
This time, coach Noelle Quinn drew up a play for Breanna Stewart and put the Storm’s fate in the hands of its MVP candidate.
However, time expired before Stewart’s 5-foot jumper over Satou Sabally sailed long, hit the back of the rim and rolled off.
So this time, there were no last-second heroics for the Storm, which fell 68-67 in front of 1,930 spectators at Angel of the Winds Arena.
“Similar to the other night,” Stewart said. “They were going to switch everything. I knew I was either going to have them on a seal over the top or just directly in. I turned over my left shoulder and I shot it like I would shoot any other jump shot. That one just didn’t happen to go in. I want to make those shots for our team to get the win, but it didn’t happen. Sometimes we miss.”
And this time, Dallas made the clutch plays at the end, notably Arike Ogunbowale’s high-arcing three-pointer – from 28 feet – despite Jordin Canada’s tight defense that put the Wings up with less than a second left on the clock.
“It’s only fair because they beat us with a three to win and we wanted to return the favor,” Wings coach Vickie Johnson said. “Arike is amazing. Big shots after big shots. … She just wanted the ball and to make it happen.”
When it mattered most, the Storm had no defense for Ogunbowale, who scored 12 of her team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter.
“I always visualize shots like that so that’s something I do all the time when I’m in the gym,” Ogunbowale said. “It’s just another chance that I got to try to make the last second shot.
“I definitely think we improved, especially just from the game on Friday. We watched film and we looked at the things that we needed to change and we changed them for sure. We just have to keep building like that, but this is definitely a big win for us, especially in Seattle after they won the championship last year. It’s a really good win.”
It was the first defeat in nearly three weeks for the Storm (7-2), which had a six-game winning streak snapped.
“Another one that came down to one possession,” Quinn said. “Not the outcome we wanted.”
In their first two meetings, the Storm won overtime shootouts, including a 105-102 victory on Friday and 100-97 win at Dallas on May 22. However, both teams struggled offensively on Sunday during their lowest-scoring performances of the season.
Seattle connected on one of its first 11 shots, which would normally spell disaster if not for Dallas missing nine of its first 11 shots.
The Storm shot just 17.3% from the field in first quarter and trailed 17-13, which were the third fewest points in a period this season for Seattle.
Dallas led 19-15 early in the second quarter when the Storm ripped off an 18-4 run to go up 33-23. Seattle led 33-28 at halftime.
Loyd took over in the third, scoring 13 of her game-high 25 points to help Seattle build a 12-point lead. Her corner three-pointer put the Storm up 51-39 with 3:53 left in the period.
“The last plays of a game, I get why we talk about them, but in this particular game, that’s not the story,” said Sue Bird, who finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists. “The story is us being up 9-10-11 or maybe 12 and not putting them away. Credit to them. They’re not a team that gives in. They’ve proven that multiple times now.
“That to me is the story. That’s when you win a game. When you take a team’s hope away.”
Instead, the Storm began the fourth quarter with a 56-49 lead that quickly disappeared when Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey (15 points) went to work against a Seattle lineup that included five backups.
Isabelle Harrison (14 points) drew a flagrant foul on Candice Dupree and converted a three-point play to knot the score at 56-56 with 7:42 remaining.
“In the moments where we had them, where we were up double digits, that’s the moment,” Bird said. “That’s when you let a team back in and allow them to build some energy. That’s when you’re in trouble. And that’s when you have to step on the gas even more. That right now is definitely an area of growth for us.”
Quinn re-inserted Loyd, Stewart and Bird and each canned three-pointers to give the Storm a little separation and a 65-58 lead during a 9-2 run.
Seattle was up 67-60 with less than two minutes left when its offense fell apart and Ogunbowale scored the final eight points in the game, including two rainbow three-pointers.
“We didn’t execute down the stretch,” said Stewart, who finished with 14 points on 5-for-15 shooting, with seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks. “That’s a similar situation that seemed to happen in the last game. We had these moments when we lose our minds a little bit. We can’t let one play effect the other. If we miss it, then we need to get a stop on defense or get a rebound. It’s a tough loss. Credit to Dallas because they are better than what their record is, but we had them.”
Dallas (3-5) dominated Seattle in several categories, including points in the paint (36-16), bench points (35-8) and rebounds (42-34). The Wings also converted all 13 of their free throws while the Storm was 17 of 23 at the line.
Still, Seattle had a chance at the end.
Loyd seemed like an obvious choice to take the last shot considering she’s one of just four players in WNBA history to make multiple game-winning shots at the buzzer.
“I think I was open, but the play was for Stewie,” Loyd said. “We got the shot that we wanted. It just didn’t bounce in. We’ll live with that. I’ll live with the MVP taking the final shot.”
Stewart is 0 and 6 in her five-year WNBA career when given a chance to win or tie the game in regulation or overtime in the final two seconds.
“I should have made the last shot,” Stewart said. “There’s plenty of moments that you can kind of look back on and just do better individually. As a team, to let them go on an 8-0 run to end the game is never great. That’s something that’s frustrating. We have to be better. I have to be better individually. That’s where it starts.”
The Storm ended a five-game homestand and now embark on a five-game road trip starting Wednesday at Atlanta.