SAN ANTONIO — As if winning three in a row isn’t enough confirmation that the Storm has successfully put together a lineup in place of its missing stars, the team looked at what is the closest to a mirror image of themselves on Friday night and won.
Playing a Silver Stars team that is without injured starters Becky Hammon, Sophia Young and Jane Appel, Seattle played an efficient offensive game on the road to shoot 52.5 percent from the floor in a 91-86 victory over San Antonio on Friday night at AT&T Center.
Camille Little scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds, and Tina Thompson added 21 points, making four three-pointers in the game and converting 7 of 9 free throws in the fourth quarter for a third consecutive win as the season progresses without Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson.
“We were disappointed in ourselves in the start (of the season), and we knew we were better than that,” Little said. “We’ve focused as a group and are playing better on both ends of the floor. We’re going to try to continue to do that.”
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To go along with the 52.5 percent from the floor, the Storm hit 23 of 25 from the foul line and 6 for 9 from the three-point arc.
The shooting touch was particularly noticeable in the second half. After Seattle held a lead of as many as 12 points in the first half, the Storm trailed by a point with 7½ minutes left in the game. But Seattle shot almost 59 percent after halftime and pulled away.
A lot of it started when the team directed the ball inside to Little. She was 3 for 5 in the third quarter for nine points. She also had three rebounds, including two straight offensively that produced a bucket underneath. She ended the quarter with two assists to Temeka Johnson (12 points) as Seattle withstood San Antonio’s offensive push that included 64 percent shooting in the third.
“When you have someone who is as versatile as Camille, inside out, it definitely can help spread the defense,” said Johnson, who scored her 2,000th career point Friday. “She opened up the floor a lot. Going to her in the third was definitely something good.”
Although the Storm played well defensively in its previous two wins, Seattle could not get a handle on San Antonio after holding the Silver Stars to a 13-point first quarter.
Even without All-Stars Hammon (broken finger) and Young (ACL tear in knee) and former first-round pick Appel (concussion), San Antonio shot 51 percent for the game.
“I thought we were better defensively, but even with us making plays on them, they hit some good shots,” Storm coach Brian Agler said.
But the outside shooting of Thompson played the biggest part in the game. With her hitting three-pointers early — she hit a 26-footer just 3:15 into the game and added another three about 4½ minutes later — she drew the defense out and then started driving inside.
Shortly after San Antonio had the 70-69 lead with 7:37 left in the game, Thompson hit two free throws. And with four minutes to go she hit another three-pointer when San Antonio’s DeLisha Milton-Jones failed to get out on her. Milton-Jones yelled out in frustration as the Storm led 80-74.
The lead went up to seven with just less than 3½ minutes remaining when Thompson lined up another three-pointer but was fouled when Shameka Christon overreacted. Thompson hit two of the three foul shots.