Jewell Loyd, who scored a career-high 32 points in the previous game, capped her lowest scoring outing of the season with a pair of missed open three-pointers that would have tied the game with less than three minutes left.
KeyArena was ready to celebrate an improbable comeback after the Storm cut a 17-point deficit to three in the final minutes.
But Seattle embodies its young stars, Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart, and their struggles capsulated Sunday’s 86-78 loss to New York.
Loyd, who scored a career-high 32 points in the previous game, capped her lowest scoring outing of the season with a pair of missed open three-pointers that would have tied the game with less than three minutes left.
The Storm’s top three scorers, Jewell Loyd, Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, shot 7 of 32 from the field Sunday.
She finished with three points on 0-for-8 shooting.
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Making matters worse, the Liberty punctuated its victory when Kiah Stokes, a 6-foot-6 backup center, blocked Stewart’s short jumper and sent her former Connecticut teammate sprawling to the floor.
The Storm rookie star landing hard on her backside was akin to a knockout blow, quieting the crowd of 6,240 as Seattle’s comeback attempt fell short and dropped the Storm to 3-5.
“As a team we were inconsistent and that happens with young teams,” coach Jenny Boucek said. “Consistency is something that you learn. I thought overall, our consistency was not there. It doesn’t favor any player on our team to play a stagnant style.”
Any momentum from its previous outing — an electrifying 95-81 win on Friday — dissipated for the Storm in a miserable third quarter.
Seattle converted just 3 of 16 field goals and was outscored 26-13 in the period. The Storm fell behind 68-51 with 3:14 left in the third and trailed 72-58 at the start of the fourth.
That’s when Seattle made its final push and went on a 15-2 run to start the final frame.
Alysha Clark, who returned to the starting lineup and scored a career-high 23 points on 7-for-7 shooting, capped the spurt with a layup at the 3:45 mark that cut the Storm’s deficit to 76-73.
New York (4-3), which shot 49.3 percent and held Seattle to 40.6 percent shooting, outscored the Storm 10-5 the rest of the way. Tina Charles finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds while Sugar Rodgers had 18 points for the Liberty.
“The reality is it’s our third game in six nights,” Boucek said. “When you really become mature in all of this as a team, you learn how to play the way you need to play whether you feel good or not. We’re inconsistent right now in a lot of ways.”
The postgame comments may have been directed toward Loyd and Stewart.
Even though Stewart finished with a personal best 17 rebounds, she was held to a season-low eight points on 4-for-12 shooting. The rookie was also saddled with five fouls.
Sue Bird struggled through a 3-for12 shooting performance, but finished with 13 points and a season-high 10 assists. Backup forward Ramu Tokashiki added 15 points.
This week Seattle embarks on a four-game road trip — its longest in the first half of the season — with stops at Connecticut, Indiana, San Antonio and Dallas.
The Storm is 1-2 in road games this year and 7-30 the past three seasons.
• Boucek said she’s been “warned” about recent comments to the media criticizing the officiating. The Storm coach didn’t specify if league or team officials told her to clamp down on the remarks.