Storm hits on all cylinders to run past Dallas

Jewell Loyd scores 27 points and Breanna Stewart adds 20 as the Storm falls two points shy of a franchise scoring record in a 109-93 victory. The Storm shot a franchise-record 61.5 percent from the field.

Jenny Boucek wasn’t leaving anything to chance. Not this time. And not with speculation swirling about her job security.

The Storm coach has watched her team blow numerous lopsided leads this season, which is why Seattle lags at the rear of a tight race for a WNBA playoff spot.

So on Friday night, Boucek leaned heavily on the Storm starters — who responded with a scoring performance two points shy of the franchise record and held off Dallas in the final minutes for a 109-93 victory that snapped a two-game losing streak.

Sunday

Storm at Minnesota, 4 p.m., NBAtv

The Storm set a franchise record by shooting 61.5 percent from the field and tied franchise records with 40 field goals and 29 assists.

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“It was just good to see consistent effort, consistent focus and consistency throughout the game,” Boucek said. “We’ve had a lot of brilliant moments this season, but the consistency has been lacking a little bit in closing out games. Teams are always going to make a run on you at some point and we kind of got wobbly a little bit losing so many close games early, to be honest with you.

“There’s like almost some PTSD that goes on now. Tonight was a good step because we weathered it and we went on our own surge after that. The more we do that, the more we overcome the mental block that we’ve probably developed by losing a lot of heartbreaking games early.”

This time, the Storm finished the job.

In its previous game at KeyArena, Seattle squandered a brilliant offensive performance in the first quarter and a 20-point lead in the second period before collapsing in the second half and losing by 11 to Chicago.

In front of an enthusiastic crowd of 7,797, the Storm scored 34 on Dallas in the first quarter and led 60-45 at halftime.

Seattle was up 19 early in the fourth quarter when Dallas went on a 10-0 run. Skylar Diggins-Smith (18 points) sank a driving bank shot that cut the Wings’ deficit to nine (94-85) with 5:01 left.

Asked what she was thinking at that point, Storm forward Breanna Stewart said: “That we need to stop doing dumb things. Like, seriously.”

On the ensuing possession Jewell Loyd, who finished with a game-high 27 points, sank two free throws to snap the scoring drought for Seattle, which closed with a 15-8 run.

“We responded well,” said Stewart, who finished with 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five blocks in 37 minutes.

Crystal Langhorne added 16 points while Sue Bird finished with 15 and Alysha Clark 14 for the Storm, which improved to 10-12 and moved into a tie with Atlanta for eighth place in the standings. Dallas (11-13), which received 16 points from Glory Johnson, is virtually deadlocked with…

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