EVERETT, Wash .– Jewell Loyd tied a WNBA record with 22 points in the first quarter and finished with a career-high 37 to help the Seattle Storm secure a first-round WNBA playoff pass with a 94-85 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Friday night.
Loyd tied the one-quarter point record set by Diana Taurasi in 2006 and tied by Brittney Sykes in 2019. This is the most points by a WNBA player in the first quarter.
Loyd’s 22 points came on 8 of 9 shots, including her four 3-pointers, and she distributed three assists as the Storm took a 28-20 lead. She had 22 of Seattle’s top 24 and didn’t score for the final 4:21 of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, highlighted by Brittney Griner’s 17th career dunk for the Mercury, Loyd suffered a desperation foul as time went on. She made three free throws, giving her 28 points and Seattle a 61-47 lead.
The 28 points in one half are the most scored by a WNBA player this season, and the 61 points tied a Seattle record for points in one half.
Despite a 22-point lead, the Storm failed to fend off the Mercury. A steal and a breakaway from Shey Peddy ended a 20-4 streak that reduced the deficit to 89-83 with 1:25 to go. The Mercury scored again after a Seattle shot clock violation, before Loyd’s three-point play with 47.2 seconds left decided the matter.
Seattle (21-11) will be the third or fourth seed, depending on how the Minnesota Lynx perform on Sunday, the last day of the regular season. The Mercury (19-12) will be the fifth seed and host the yet-to-be-determined No.8 in a first-round match on Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.