SEATTLE (AP) — Jewell Loyd scored 21 of her 32 points in the first half, Sami Whitcomb scored all 10 of her points in the fourth quarter, and the Seattle Storm held off rookie Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever 85-83 on Wednesday night.

Loyd, last year’s leading scorer in the WNBA, shook off a sluggish start to the season to post the 22nd 30-point game of her career. Loyd and Whitcomb combined for 18 of Seattle’s 27 points in the fourth quarter, and the Storm (2-3) needed all those points to hold off a late rally and keep the Fever (0-5) winless.

Clark finished with a team-high 21 points two days after rolling her left ankle in a home loss to Connecticut. She struggled early against Seattle, but sparked a third-quarter rally and helped give the Fever a 60-58 lead going into the fourth.

Seattle led by as many as seven early in the fourth quarter. Clark’s three free throws with 1:50 left pulled the Fever within 79-77, but Seattle got baskets from Jordan Horston and Ezi Magbegor on consecutive possessions.

The Fever were within 84-83 after two free throws by Clark. Seattle committed a turnover with 11 seconds left, giving Indiana a chance to win.

Clark stumbled on the inbound pass and a jump ball was controlled by Nneka Ogwumike, who hit one of two free throws. Indiana was out of timeouts and could only get Aliyah Boston’s desperation attempt at the buzzer that was off line.

Ogwumike added 22 points after missing the past two games with an ankle injury.

While most of the sellout crowd of 18,343 — the largest for a game in Seattle — wore the green and gold of the Storm, there was a healthy smattering of Indiana and Iowa No. 22 jerseys and shirts for Clark. She put on a show the last time she was in the building during the 2023 NCAA Women’s Tournament when she helped lead Iowa to the Final Four, including a triple-double in the regional final.

Clark missed her first four shots before scoring on a baseline drive early in the second quarter. Her first 3-pointer didn’t come until midway through the third quarter and she finished 6 of 16 shooting, including 2 for 8 from behind the arc.

Seattle rookie Nika Muhl made her debut for Seattle after missing the first four games of the season due to visa issues. Muhl checked in late in the third quarter to a rousing ovation, only to see Clark knock down a 3 over her.

UP NEXT

Fever: At Los Angeles on Friday.

Storm: Hosts Washington on Saturday.

___

WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball