Storm center Camille Little had a career-high 22 points with six rebounds as Seattle finishes the regular season 17-0 at home.
When Svetlana Abrosimova is flinging over-the-back shots into the hoop, you’ve got to figure things are going Seattle’s way.
The Storm was ready for showtime Saturday, defeating Los Angeles for a fifth consecutive time and eighth in a row at home. The 76-75 victory in the regular-season finale gave the Storm a 17-0 record at KeyArena this season. The victory came before a sold-out crowd of 9,686, most wearing “I Am Home Court Advantage” T-shirts, given away by the organization.
“I’ve said this all year long, no other team likes to play here and that is all about our fans in that regard,” Storm star Sue Bird said. “So to go undefeated at home is really special. But playing at KeyArena has always been great and something I’ve enjoyed.”
Scrambling with multiple options in her head with the Storm down 75-74 after a jump ball with 56.3 seconds remaining in the game, Bird said she dished to teammate Tanisha Wright, who the point guard knew could create a play.
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Wright worked her magic, dribbling to the corner in front of Los Angeles’ bench and nailing a tough 13-footer to put Seattle ahead 76-75 with 50.7 seconds left.
Sparks forward Tina Thompson and guard Marie Ferdinand-Harris missed potential winning shots, the latter with 1.9 seconds remaining. Storm forward Lauren Jackson grabbed the final rebound to end the game.
“The angle was tough, but I just took one dribble and I had a good look at it,” said Wright, who finished with seven points on 3-for-8 shooting from the field. “I was surprised that Sue gave me the ball because the shot clock was down. But, like I said, I had a good look at it and if you make it, you make it and if you miss it, you live with it.”
The Storm appeared to be imploding in the fourth quarter. The team led 72-60 with 8:49 remaining in the game, but missed 14 shots to allow Los Angeles back into it. Seattle was 5 of 19 for 26.3 percent shooting in the fourth quarter overall.
“This wasn’t a typical game. We usually close games better,” said Storm coach Brian Agler. “We had a series of missed shots at the rim, had a couple lapses defensively, and may have had a turnover or two. I can’t recall every single possession. I’m going to watch it and not enjoy it very much.”
Storm forward Camille Little had a career-high 22 points with six rebounds, while Jackson, an MVP candidate, had 21 points.
If San Antonio loses to Phoenix and Minnesota beats Indiana on Sunday, San Antonio would be the No. 4 seed and play Seattle.
The Sparks were 16-0 in 2001, becoming the first team in WNBA history to go undefeated at home. Los Angeles was 28-4 overall, winning its first league championship.
Thompson, the league’s all-time leading scorer, credited the Storm on its season. Yet Thompson was hesitant to go further with her praise, given the postseason hasn’t begun.
In four first-round postseason meetings with Seattle, Los Angeles has won each best-of-three series.
“We didn’t become a great team until we won,” said Thompson of her past Houston Comets squads that won four consecutive WNBA championships. She signed with Los Angeles after Houston folded in 2008.
“I definitely think Seattle is a talented team and they’re playing well. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to win.”
• Storm forward Le’coe Willingham, out with an injured left ankle, did not play as a precautionary measure. Willingham suffered the injury in the opening half against the Phoenix Mercury on Friday.
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Percentages: FG .474, FT 1.000. Three-point goals: 6-16, .375 (Thompson 4-6, Quinn 1-1, Milton-Jones 1-4, Riley 0-1, Ferdinand-Harris 0-2, Toliver 0-2). Team rebounds: 8. Team turnovers: 17 (22 PTS). Blocked shots: 2 (Milton-Jones, Wisdom-Hylton). Turnovers: 16 (Milton-Jones 5, Penicheiro 3, Ferdinand-Harris 2, Riley 2, Thompson 2, Wisdom-Hylton 2). Steals: 7 (Thompson 2, Ferdinand-Harris, Mokango, Penicheiro, Quinn, Wisdom-Hylton). Technical fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .409, FT .737. Three-point goals: 8-22, .364 (Jackson 3-8, Little 1-1, Wright 1-1, Abrosimova 1-2, Cash 1-3, Bird 1-7). Team rebounds: 5. Team turnovers: 13 (15 PTS). Blocked shots: 4 (Abrosimova, Jackson, Little, Robinson). Turnovers: 12 (Cash 4, Wright 3, Abrosimova, Jackson, Little, Robinson, Vesela). Steals: 11 (Abrosimova 3, Bird 2, Cash 2, Jackson 2, Little, Robinson). Technical fouls: None.
|Los Angeles||20||16||24||15 — 75|
|Seattle||20||19||27||10 — 76|
Attendance: 9,686 (9,686). Time: 1:54. Officials: Sue Blauch, Clarke Stevens, Daryl Humphrey.