WNBA PREVIEWS |

Washington Mystics vs. Seattle Storm Preview and Predictions 09-09-2018

Jewell Loyd took a cue from NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

Loyd broke out of a shooting slump Friday night with a game-high 23 points as the host Seattle Storm defeated the Washington Mystics 89-76 in Game 1 of the best-of-five WNBA Finals. Game 2 is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at KeyArena.

Loyd, the former Notre Dame star who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 WNBA draft, made 9 of 12 shots from the field, including making all three of her 3-point attempts.

"When you're a shooter, you've got to have short-term memory," Loyd said. "I think I saw a post where Kobe (Bryant) was like, 'If you're not open, still shoot the ball,' and I was like, I made that my screen saver, because I'm like, I need to be able to shoot and just have short-term memory."

Loyd also scored 23 points in Game 1 of the Storm's semifinal series against Phoenix. But she had only 32 points in the next four games, going 9 of 36 from the field and 2 of 12 from behind the arc.

"As basketball players, as athletes, you're going to have off nights, you're going to have tough stretches, and what I've seen from Jewell from Year 1 to Year 4 is you know the bounce back will come," teammate Sue Bird said. "She understands she had a rough series (against Phoenix), she knows it, we all know it, everyone knows it.

"I'm sure people have been talking to her about it. But I was pretty confident to be honest, not like I knew this would happen, but I was pretty confident that she was going to come out and just be herself."

League MVP Breanna Stewart added 22 points for the Storm, who led by as many as 26 in the fourth quarter.

Washington's Elena Delle Donne, playing with a large brace on her left knee after suffering a bone bruise in the Mystics' semifinal series, had 10 points and seven rebounds before sitting out the fourth quarter. Guard Kristi Toliver was limited to five points on 2-of-11 shooting, including 1 of 8 from 3-point range.

"We can talk about my knee after this series," Delle Donne said. "Excuses are for losers. If I wanted to be 100 percent, I wouldn't have come back. I knew coming into this thing I was going to have to figure out a different way to play. It might not be the same basketball I've been playing all season, but I still feel like I can impact this game."

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