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 bye in the WNBA playoffs with a 94-85 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Friday night.
Loyd matched the record for points in a quarter that was set by Diana Taurasi in 2006 and tied by Brittney Sykes in 2019. It was the most points by a WNBA player in the first quarter.
Loyd's 22 points came on 8-of-9 shooting, including all four of her 3-pointers, and she dished out three assists as the Storm took a 28-20 lead. She had 22 of Seattle's first 24 and didn't score for the final 4:21 of the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, highlighted by Brittney Griner's 17th career dunk for the Mercury, Loyd was fouled on a desperation heave as time ran out. She made three free throws, giving her 28 points and Seattle a 61-47 lead.
The 28 points in a half are the most by a WNBA player this season, and the 61 points tied a Seattle record for points in a half.
Despite building the lead to 22 points, the Storm couldn't put the Mercury away. A steal and breakaway layup by Shey Peddy was the end of a 20-4 run that cut 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 to go decided the issue.
Seattle (21-11) will be the third or fourth seed, depending on how the Minnesota Lynx fare Sunday, the final day of the regular season. The Mercury (19-12) will be the fifth seed and host the to-be-determined No. 8 in a first-round game Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.