The Seattle Storm entered Tuesday night's Western Conference semifinal series against the Las Vegas Ace trailing the best-of-five series two games to one. They were facing elimination on their home court and needed something to change. Well, future Hall of Famer Breanna Stewart certainly did her part.
She stormed out the gates, pun intended, and set an NBA playoff record. Stewart scored 26 points in the first half, leading Seattle to a 47-44 halftime lead. Her 26 points surpassed the previous mark set by Angel McCoughtry in 2011.
What a first half performance! 👏@breannastewart has scored the most points in a first half in WNBA playoff history passing Angel McCoughtry's 24 points on 10/05/2011 #MoreThan pic.twitter.com/5a4Ysr0gTu
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 7, 2022
Breanna Stewart knocked down all five of her shots from beyond the arc. Unfortunately for the Stewart and the Storm, the energy dried up in the second half. The Aces came out of halftime and outscored Seattle 22-12 in the third quarter on their way to a 97-92 victory.
Stewart finished with a game high 42 points on 14-for-22 shooting from the field. Aces superstar Chelsea Gray scored 31 of her own, on nearly as efficient a night, 13-for-22, to go along with 10 assists.
With the win, the Aces clinched their second ever berth in the WNBA Finals. But it's that first one that makes this second one that much sweeter. In 2020, Las Vegas was swept by Stewart and the Seattle Storm in the WNBA Finals. This must have felt glorious to the Aces players.
Meanwhile, this was likely the final game of legendary Sue Bird. The all-time great had previously announced she was retiring at the end of this season. It was an amazing season and the future is bright for the Storm, as long as Stewart is still there.