Turnovers and rebounding bite the Storm in a 79-70 loss to New York, which opened a five-game homestand.

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In the third quarter, Sami Whitcomb seemed to become the spark the Seattle Storm needed.

Whitcomb, who was scoreless to that point, scored eight points in the quarter. She brought the Storm within two of the New York Liberty, but that was the closest Seattle would come in the second half.

After spending nearly the entire first half ahead of the Liberty, the Storm lost 79-70 to New York on Thursday night at KeyArena, the beginning of a five-game homestand.

“I thought we were definitely going to break through,” Whitcomb said. “I felt like defensively we were getting stops. We were rebounding, and we were flowing again.”

Whitcomb’s energy stood out in that quarter, Storm coach Jenny Boucek said, but it shouldn’t have, not if everyone had been playing how Boucek had hoped.

Prior to the game, Boucek said she thought her team had “turned a corner,” and Thursday’s matchup would be a quick way to find out. Now, the Storm has won just three of its last 11 games.

Breanna Stewart earned a double-double, and she had 20 points against the Liberty to follow her season-high 30 in the Storm’s 20-point win over the Dallas Wings on Saturday.

“You’re starting to see Stewie’s versatility really come out,” said Seattle’s Sue Bird, who scored only two points. “More than anything you’re starting to see her be a little more aggressive.”

The Liberty shot 29 free throws, making 22. And that stop-and-go nature of play ultimately hurt the Storm.

“A slower pace definitely favored them,” Boucek said. “All the free throws turned it into a game that definitely was their style.”

New York’s Tina Charles is third in the WNBA in points, averaging 20.3 a game. In Seattle, she recorded 29, her second-best total of the season.

The Storm hit 37.5 percent from the field, and five Seattle players — Stewart, Whitcomb, Crystal Langhorne, Alysha Clark and Jewell Loyd — had at least 10 points. But the Storm also had 14 turnovers that resulted in 18 points.

In the win against Dallas, Bird said, the team was playing at the fast tempo it wants. But on Thursday, there were only glimpses of that pace. After the Liberty took the lead toward the end of the first half, Bird said, “It felt like they had control ever since.”

“You want to try to impose your will, your style on another team, but the challenges that present with each team that you play against are different,” Bird said. “With the whistles being blown as well as them getting offensive rebounds and that kind of thing, we just weren’t able to get going.”

New York (8-7) leads the league in rebounding, averaging 37.6 per game, and the team didn’t have any trouble against the Storm, finishing with 43 rebounds. The Storm notched 36 rebounds, led by Stewart’s 14.

Thursday’s game was the third and final time the Storm will play the Liberty in the regular season. This year’s previous two games between the Storm and the Liberty were decided by eight points or fewer, with with the teams splitting the pair.

The Storm will continue its homestand on Saturday against the L.A. Sparks, a team Seattle lost to earlier this season.

“It’s a quick turnaround,” Stewart said. “You can’t dwell on anything in this league.”