Storm offense hits high gear in dominating, drama-free Game 1 win

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After so much drama in their recent outings, maybe it was inevitable that the WNBA Finals opener between Seattle and Washington didn’t sustain the same feeling. The Storm didn’t allow it.

The game was a dream for Seattle and a dud for Washington, an 89-76 Storm victory that the fans at KeyArena thoroughly enjoyed because it didn’t give them heart palpitations, like both Game 5s of the WNBA semifinals. In fact, if you were a Storm fan, this game was downright relaxing.

Seattle led 48-32 at halftime, and by the third quarter, the Mystics looked as if they were already in the mental space of trying to get ready for Sunday’s Game 2.8

“When you’re in it, you never feel like you’re safe,” Seattle’s Sue Bird said. “We were constantly on high alert. But … we were able to cause some turnovers, to get some transition going — which is what we love to do — and that set the tone.

“Once we get going, like any team, you start to feel comfortable, the basket gets bigger, you get a little more aggressive. And that’s kind of what happened.”

The rim seemed huge for guard Jewell Loyd, who struggled a bit during the semifinals, and center Natasha Howard. And they took advantage of that, going a combined 17 of 21 from the field. Loyd led Seattle in scoring with 23 points. As good as the Mystics’ defense can be — even though we didn’t see it Friday — it’s still a bit of a relief for Loyd that she’s not still facing a defender as pesky as Phoenix’s Briann January.

“I need to be able to shoot and just have short-term memory,” Loyd said. “But it helps when you’re playing with people who are unselfish, that set you up and keep giving you the ball. And that’s what makes this team special. Everyone is willing to make the extra pass.”