With coach Dan Hughes back on the sideline, the Seattle Storm might be even tougher to beat than they have on whatever floor they're calling home this season.
The Storm look to improve to 4-0 at home Sunday when they welcome the Indiana Fever.
Due to the continued renovations to KeyArena, Seattle (6-4) is playing its 2019 home contests at Angel of the Winds Arena in nearby Everett and the Alaska Airlines Arena on the campus of the University of Washington. The latter is where the Storm will be for this game after rolling to an 84-62 win over Los Angeles in Everett on Friday.
Jewell Loyd (16.6 points per game) hit a career-high five 3-pointers en route to a 23-point evening and Natasha Howard (19.6 ppg, 9.2 rebounds per game) recorded 20 points and nine rebounds as the Storm went 14 of 26 from beyond the arc in Hughes' return to the bench. The 64-year-old coach was on the court for the first time since being diagnosed with cancer and having a carcinoid tumor in his digestive tract removed on May 14.
"It's great to be back," Hughes said. "A lot of support to get to this point."
The reigning WNBA champs have been one of the more interesting stories of the early season, playing above .500 basketball despite being without stars Breanna Stewart (Achilles) and Sue Bird (knee). And until Friday, Hughes.
Sunday's contest continues a stretch of eight of nine games at home for the Storm, who aim for second victory this month over the Fever (5-5). Howard scored 26 points, Loyd added 18 and Mercedes Russell posted 11 of her 13 points in the first half as Seattle blew a double-digit third-quarter lead but ultimately rallied for an 84-82 win at Indiana on June 11.
For the Fever, that was part of a stretch in which they lost four of five. However, they will look to win back-to-back road contests for the first time this season after an impressive 76-69 victory over surging Chicago on Friday.
Erica Wheeler (12.3 ppg) made six 3-pointers and scored 28 points, while Candice Dupree (12.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg) had 14 with 10 rebounds and rookie Teaira McCowan added 10 with 13 boards for the Fever, who shot 44.3 percent and held a 36-25 advantage on the glass in ending the Sky's four-game winning streak.
"It feels good," Wheeler, who scored in double-figures once in her previous six games, told the Fever's official website. "For us to come in here and get this win, it means a lot and gives us some juice."
Indiana's leading-scorer Kelsey Mitchell (14.7 ppg) had just five points Friday, but scored 21 against the Storm earlier this month.
It's uncertain if Mitchell's teammate Natalie Achonwa will play after missing the last two games with a calf strain.
Meanwhile, Seattle point guard Jordin Canada (9.8 ppg, 5.3 assists per game) is dealing with a knee issue.