SEATTLE -- Breanna Stewart had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Jewell Loyd scored 12 of her 16 points in the final five minutes and the fourth-seeded Seattle Storm beat the fifth-seeded Washington Mystics 86-83 on Thursday night.
Loyd didn't make her first field goal until the 4:52 mark of the fourth quarter, but she came up huge in the closing minutes.
Loyd missed a long 3-pointer with 51 seconds left, but Tina Charles grabbed the offensive rebound, leading to Loyd's runner in the lane that gave Seattle an 82-81 lead. Washington turned it over and Loyd was fouled with 24.2 seconds left before making two free throws.
Elena Delle Donne was long on a 3-point attempt for Washington, and Stewart sealed it with two free throws with 14.6 left.
"The fact that Jewell just stuck with it, that just shows that she's a vet," Stewart said. "We're not rookies anymore, we've been here for awhile. We know what to do, and we just stick with the game play."
Gabby Williams added 12 points for Seattle, which will host Game 2 on Sunday. Sue Bird scored 10 points and became the fourth player in WNBA history with 100 career 3-pointers in the playoffs.
Delle Donne made 11 of 17 shots and scored 26 points for Washington in her first playoff game since the 2019 WNBA Finals. Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins each added 16 points.