For the Seattle Storm, it was the perfect storm.
The Storm came into Chicago on Sunday night and played one of its best basketball games of the season, and in the meantime caught the Sky not even close to its best.
Seattle, just ahead of the Sky in the race for the final spots in the upcoming WNBA playoffs, was running full throttle from start to finish, dismantling the Sky in a 103-66 victory at Allstate Arena.
The loss drops the Sky to 11-18 and keeps the Sky in ninth place in the standings. Only the top eight teams make the WNBA playoffs, which start in early September.
Seattle improves to 14-16 and is tied with Dallas for seventh place.
If the playoffs started today, Seattle and Dallas would be the last teams in.
"We knew coming in that this was a playoff game and that it meant a lot in terms of breaking the tiebreaker with (Seattle) if it gets to that point," said Sky guard Allie Quigley, who was held to 9 points, 8 below her team-leading average of 17.3 points per game. "But we just didn't have it tonight. It's one of those games where you learn from it, but at the same time forget about it and move on."
Seattle got off to a 25-8 lead midway through the first quarter and kept building. The Storm pushed its biggest lead to 47 points.
"Seattle jumped on us," said Sky forward Jessica Breland, who finished with 4 points and 9 rebounds. "And we didn't punch back. We have (five remaining) games ahead and we know what we have to do to take care of business. We want to be in the playoffs. That's urgency in itself, just wanting to be there."
Seattle got double-figures out of five players, led by former University of Connecticut star Breanna Stewart with 19 points. Alysha Clark and Jewell Loyd, the former Niles West and Notre Dame standout, each had 17 points. Guard Sami Whitcomb added 10 points off the bench.
Seattle point guard Sue Bird, a 15-year veteran of the league, got herself a bit closer to making history. Entering the game, she was 20 assists away from setting the WNBA's all-time assist record of 2,600 career assists. She had 8 assists against the Sky and is now just 12 away from the record.
The current assist leader in the WNBA, Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot, who averages a league-leading 8 assists per game, was held to just 6 assists. She had a streak of six straight games with 10 or more assists snapped.
Vandersloot finished with 7 points and Kahleah Copper had 8 points. Only one Sky player, center Stefanie Dolson, finished in double-figures. She had 10 points.
"It's just one of those games that, man, we've all had them in our career," said Sky coach Amber Stocks, whose team rolled up 17 turnovers. "You just hope they don't happen twice. There's a lot that we can continue to work on, and there's a lot that we're doing well right now. By no means does this game take away from any of the positives that this team is doing."