Tanisha Wright wasn’t kidding about how determined she was to help the Seattle Storm earn a 10th consecutive postseason appearance.
The Storm guard took over in the second half to help Seattle defeat Indiana 77-70 before 6,889 fans at KeyArena on Saturday. In the decisive fourth quarter, Wright teamed with forward Tina Thompson to make four free throws in the final 17.1 seconds to secure the win.
“We have to work hard for everything we want,” said Wright, who had eight points and five assists in the second half.
Seattle (11-13) retains its hold on the fourth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference. San Antonio (9-15) defeated Phoenix (13-12) on Saturday to remain two-games back.
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Indiana (11-14) has a half-game lead on New York (10-14) for the fourth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
After Seattle eked out a 40-39 halftime advantage, Wright wheeled the game into her control. She had three consecutive assists to wing Shekinna Stricklen to give Seattle a 59-53 lead with 2:08 remaining in the quarter.
Indiana tied the score early in the fourth quarter. But unlike Thursday’s home loss to Chicago, where the Sky pulled off a 26-point turnaround, Wright made a short bank shot to put Seattle back ahead. Her team’s defense held on for the win.
“Tanisha did a great job of controlling the game and creating opportunities for us,” said Thompson of Wright’s final stat line of 16 points and a season-high eight assists.
Thompson, a 17-year veteran, led all scorers with 23 points, seven rebounds and one block. She collected her career 3,000th rebound with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter. She joins retired centers Lisa Leslie (3,307) and Taj McWilliams-Franklin (3,013) in the club.
“She’s been amazing all year, man,” Wright said of Thompson.