Teams often want a redo to fix mistakes. It’s not often they get one in the following game.
Three days after an error-filled overtime loss to San Antonio on Thursday, Seattle was in a similar scenario against Washington. But on Sunday the Storm executed the needed plays to beat the Mystics 89-86 in overtime.
“What happened Thursday night helped us,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “I could see a little more grit and determination and persistence down the stretch. Not that we didn’t have that the other night, but in big possessions when (Washington was) needing a three-point shot, which was about five or six times, we didn’t give them that.”
San Antonio needed a three-pointer to force overtime on Thursday, Seattle allowing the shot with 6.5 seconds left in regulation. On Sunday, Washington looked for the shot with 15.7 seconds left in overtime, down 87-84 to Seattle.
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This time, Seattle protected the perimeter. Mystics guard Bria Hartley hit an open layin to close to 87-86 but it was her team’s last bucket. Storm forward Camille Little closed out the scoring with two free throws.
Hartley, who was drafted and then traded by the Storm in April, finished with a season-high 26 points on 11-of-26 shooting.
Washington (5-9) is on a four-game losing streak, and has dropped seven of eight.
“We really stressed not giving up threes,” Storm guard Sue Bird said. “We just wanted to get that stop and not have history repeat itself from the other night.”
One piece of history that is repeating itself is Seattle’s fourth-quarter breakdowns.
Seattle led 62-60 headed into the final period. But the Storm (6-9) didn’t score its first field goal of the quarter until there was 5:47 left.
Little struggled the most from the floor in regulation. She was 2 of 13 from the field but 9 of 10 in free-throw attempts.
What Little couldn’t hit in the fourth quarter, she did in overtime. She scored on pick-and-roll plays from Bird, shooting 3 of 4 from the field and scoring nine points. Little, finished with a team-high 22 points, six rebounds and six assists.
“Some of those shots missed like bad,” Little said. “I just didn’t want to be one of those players who misses a couple and doesn’t want to shoot anymore. That hurts everybody else.”
“But she did what she needed to do in overtime,” Bird added.
Seattle’s shooting started hot Sunday. It made 7 of 12 three-pointers in the opening half for a 45-41 lead at the break. It was the most points of the season for the Storm in a half. The Storm finished the game 12 for 24 from three-point range, also a season-best.
Storm guard Tanisha Wright missed her second straight game due to a bone bruise in her right knee. She suffered the injury in practice last week and had the knee drained due to some swelling. She remains day to day.
Wright is the team’s best defender. After Thursday’s breakdowns, she was more vocal on the sideline Sunday.
“Tanisha was talking the whole game, she’s still talking,” said Storm forward Noelle Quinn in a lively locker room. “Defense, that’s her specialty. She inspires the rest of us to get after it (and) we were adamant about the fact that we needed to close it. Today our focus was a lot better in those closing minutes.”