SAN ANTONIO – Tina Thompson had a double-double before the third quarter was over, and her final line of 27 points and 13 rebounds led the Storm to a 72-71 victory over the Silver Stars on Tuesday in a game that gives Seattle an edge in wrapping up the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.
Thompson, the 38-year-old veteran of 17 seasons, produced for the Storm (14-14) early and late as the team built its lead for the final West playoff spot to four games over the Silver Stars (10-18) with six to play.
With three straight baskets in the first quarter, she dug the Storm out of an early hole that was similar to the team’s slow start on Sunday, when Seattle dropped the first of this back-to-back in San Antonio.
“Tina took it upon herself to make plays,” Tanisha Wright said. “She understood the magnitude of this game. She understood how much we needed it. She really put us on her back and made plays to keep the game close.”
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And when there was a loose ball in the air as time was expiring at the end of the game, Thompson was the one who went up to grab it.
“She took over — she really took over,” coach Brian Agler said. “She got us back with some offensive boards, some threes, free-throw attempts. She’s one of the all-time bests, and she continues to show it at age 38.”
Camille Little added 14 points for the Storm, who play Thursday at home against Connecticut. Seattle outshot San Antonio 47 percent to 39 and outrebounded the Silver Stars 33-25.
As it turned out, Thompson didn’t need to grab that final loose ball as time had expired, but the Storm was happy to have the insurance just in case.
Seattle had just committed its second turnover in the final five seconds and looked to be on the verge of losing what had been a late seven-point lead. Shenise Johnson and Jia Perkins both hit three-pointers for the Silver Stars to cut the lead to one, and Perkins picked up a loose ball with 1.7 seconds to go when Wright’s inbound pass was not handled by Temeka Johnson.
Perkins managed to get up a shot, and Thompson grabbed the ball and bumped with San Antonio’s Davelynn Whyte near the basket. But the clock was not restarted on Wright’s inbound pass, leading the officials to review the play on video and determine time had run out.
“We were just trying to keep our composure,” Wright said. “It was just crazy. They were trying to make as many plays as possible to win the game, and we’re just trying to get the ball inbounds. We’re happy we came out with the win.”
Wright went 5 for 8 from the floor, and had seven rebounds and seven assists to go along with 11 points and seven turnovers. The Storm committed 18 turnovers that led to 25 points for San Antonio (Seattle scored just 10 points on the Silver Stars’ 11 mistakes).
But Seattle hit 8 of 16 shots from three-point territory and outscored San Antonio 24-15 from long distance.
Thompson was most effective. She was 3 for 5 from three-point range, including her first when the Storm trailed San Antonio 10-2.
The Storm lost to the Silver Stars here on Sunday after falling behind 8-0.
“We were down early in that game and we didn’t respond,” Thompson said. “So every moment (tonight) our mindset was to respond no matter what the circumstances were. We did that.”
There were 13 lead changes and eight ties in a game Thompson said was close to playoff intensity. The game’s final tie came at just less than the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter, not long before Seattle went on a 6-1 run. Thompson made a pair of free throws — she was 6 for 6 from the line — to put the Storm up 72-65 with 20 seconds to go.