Seattle goes on a 10-4 run to open the final quarter and defeat San Antonio.
After Storm coach Brian Agler spoke to his team after the game, the players turned their attention to their opponents.
“Turn the TV on! It’s the end of the game,” teammates bellowed to Storm guard Sue Bird, who held the remote in the locker room. Seattle had just struggled with most facets of its game, but dug deep defensively to gain enough momentum for a 63-55 victory over San Antonio on Tuesday night.
The ugly style didn’t matter, players quickly wanting to turn their focus to Phoenix’s eventual 74-70 loss to New York. That loss helped pull the Storm (15-12) a half-game closer to the Mercury’s (15-11) hold on second in the Western Conference.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Storm forward Camille Little of Seattle’s recent ugly style and close victories. “We haven’t clinched a playoff (berth), so we need to continue to try to play well and get some more wins.”
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Trailing by one entering the fourth quarter, the Storm went on a 10-4 run to take a 51-46 lead with 4:55 remaining in the game. But a three-pointer by Silver Stars guard Jia Perkins appeared to give her team fresh momentum as San Antonio stayed close.
Leading 61-55 after a jumper by guard Sue Bird, teammate Camille Little snagged a key steal with 52.9 seconds left. And guard Katie Smith smothered Perkins on a three-point attempt with 17.9 seconds left in the game.
“It was kind of like a movie,” Little said of her key defensive play against guard Becky Hammon. “The ball got really big in my face, and I wanted to touch it. It really felt like slow motion. I got a hand on it, and I just tried to make sure I held it.”
Seattle got its second win since center Lauren Jackson returned Saturday from left hip surgery. She scored six of her 13 points in the final quarter while teammate Tanisha Wright led the Storm with 16 points and seven rebounds.
The Storm took a 3-1 lead in the season series with one game remaining against the Silver Stars in September. San Antonio (13-13) lost its fourth consecutive game, and eighth in a row at KeyArena.
“We started playing with a purpose at the end,” said Agler, whose team won its second consecutive game when trailing entering the fourth quarter after losing 10 in a row in that situation.
“We’re excited that we were successful,” Agler continued. “Obviously it was a big game. And at this time of year, the games are going to be close.”
Seattle found itself in a grudge match after San Antonio outscored the Storm 19-10 in the second quarter to take a 28-26 lead into halftime. Hammon had the go-ahead bucket on a 7-foot jumper to end the half.
Once closing off the inside to prevent easy scores, the Storm allowed the Silver Stars to outrebound it 12-6 in the second quarter and 7-0 in second-chance shots.
“I take a lot of the responsibility for that because I’m the one organizing the team,” Bird said. “My ability to do that needs to trickle down to everyone else and for us to be on the same page at all times. The good news about that is it’s easily taken care of.”
Bird scored her 4,000th point on a free throw in the first half. The 10-year veteran ranks 16th on the WNBA’s all-time scoring list, finishing with 12 points and five assists.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org\
Storm 63, Silver Stars 55
Percentages: FG .324, FT .833. Three-point goals: 2-13, .154 (Bevilaqua 1-3, Perkins 1-5, S.Robinson 0-1, Hammon 0-4). Team rebounds: 7. Team turnovers: 12 (13 PTS). Blocked shots: 2 (Appel, Young). Turnovers: 7 (Riley 2, D.Robinson 2, Appel, Hammon, Perkins). Steals: 5 (Young 2, Bevilaqua, Perkins, D.Robinson). Technical fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .436, FT .929. Three-point goals: 2-14, .143 (Little 1-1, Jackson 1-4, Wright 0-1, Cash 0-2, Smith 0-2, Bird 0-4). Team rebounds: 5. Team turnovers: 14 (10 PTS). Blocked shots: 7 (Jackson 2, Little 2, Cash, Smith, Wright). Turnovers: 11 (Little 3, Bird 2, Cash 2, A.Robinson, Smith, Willingham, Wright). Steals: 6 (Little 2, Bird, Cash, A.Robinson, Wright). Technical fouls: None.
|San Antonio||9||19||14||13 — 55|
|Seattle||16||10||15||22 — 63|
Attendance: 6,559 (9,686). Time: 1:42. Officials: Denise Brooks-Clauser, Felicia Grinter, Tom Mauer.