EVERETT — With the score tied, Sue Bird threw a pass that badly missed Stephanie Talbot, who was cutting to the basket, and the ball dribbled out of bounds as time expired.

It was an uncharacteristic blunder by the WNBA’s all-time assist leader, which led to a second consecutive overtime game for the Storm.

Bird began the extra period with two three-pointers for a little bit of redemption and a 90-87 overtime victory over Connecticut on Tuesday night at the Angel of the Winds Arena.

Behind four three-pointers, Bird finished with a season-high 21 points and led the Storm (4-1) in scoring for the first time this year.

Jewell Loyd tallied 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals, and Breanna Stewart had 17 points and 12 rebounds.

“We’re finding ways to win, and it’s not quite what we want to be yet, and it doesn’t feel how we want it to feel yet,” assistant coach Noelle Quinn said. “We added so many key pieces to our roster, and that takes time. … We are on a crash course right now. We’re on an expedited speed journey right now. We’re asking some players who haven’t been our system to step into roles that maybe they hadn’t played in previous teams, but these are huge roles for us.  


“It’s early, and we’re finding ways to win.” 

Quinn and assistant Gary Kloppenburg led the Storm on Tuesday in place of coach Dan Hughes, who was away attending his son’s graduation. 

The Storm began the game with its fourth different starting lineup, which included Mercedes Russell making her first start of the season in her third outing.

During a pregame interview, Quinn noted that the 6-foot-6 center gave Seattle a bigger lineup to slow Connecticut center Jonquel Jones, who entered the game averaging 18.4 points and 10.8 rebounds.

Stewart came out firing and made five of her first seven shots for 12 points to carry the Storm to a 19-11 lead with 3:32 left in the first.

Seattle was up 35-26 midway in the second when Connecticut seized the momentum and a 40-35 lead with four consecutive three-pointers during a spellbinding, 12-0 run.

After a timeout, the Storm regained control and finished the half on an 11-0 run to go ahead 46-40 at the break.


Seattle stretched its advantage to 11 points (61-50) late in the third and appeared poised for a knockout. However, Connecticut forced three consecutive turnovers and ran off nine unanswered points to trail by two (61-59).

While most of Seattle starters rested on the sideline, Jones (28 points and 13 rebounds) put the Sun ahead 64-63 with a layup and free throw at the 9:15 mark, which prompted the return of Stewart, Loyd and Bird.

The star trio took over with clutch plays while scoring all the points in the fourth quarter and overtime for the Storm.

Connecticut kept pace thanks to the quartet of Jones, Brionna Jones (19 points), DeWanna Bonner (15 points) and Natisha Hiedeman (14 points). The Sun shot 47.1% from the field, drained 8 of 19 three-pointers and scored 44 points in the paint.

Dijonai Carrington cut along the baseline and sneaked behind the defense for a reverse layup with 15.3 seconds left in the fourth that knotted the score at 79. The Storm called a timeout, and Quinn drew up a play for Bird and Stewart. 

“We wanted to get me and Stewie in a flare screen and mess them up a little bit,” Bird said. “They actually put DeWanna Bonner on me. Right away, I had an idea that this is going to be a switching scenario. Then I had Jonquel Jones.  


“By the time I got the ball, there was like 3-4 seconds. I was going to throw it up, to be honest, but out of the corner of my eye I saw Steph cut and I tried to get her the ball. It was one of those scenarios. She curled towards the basket, and I thought she was coming more towards me. It was just a misread on my part. We were trying to win or go into overtime. We weren’t going to give them a chance.” 

Quinn added: ““I’ll take responsibility for that. I should have put them in a longer set. … But at the end of the day you’re putting two of the best players to give us a win. It just didn’t flow right.”

At the start of the extra period, Bird sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around Loyd’s layup for an 87-79 lead with four minutes left.

“It’s not so much redemption,” said Bird, who scored six of Seattle’s 11 points in overtime. “I played in so many games where I played really poorly, but at the end it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you’ve hit 10 shots in a row or if you’ve missed 10 in a row. There’s always the next one, and that’s the one that matters.  

“It was a new five minutes. It was a new game, so you just go out there and play it.”

Jasmine Thomas converted a three-point play to trim the Sun’s deficit to three at 87-84 with 2:58 left. Stewart answered at the other end with a three-pointer — her first field goal since the first quarter — for Seattle’s final basket.

It was the end of a three-games-in-five-days West Coast trip for Connecticut (5-1), which played without coach Curt Miller, who was suspended one game and fined $10,000 by the WNBA for disparaging comments made about Aces player Liz Cambage during Sunday’s game at Las Vegas.


— Ezi Magbegor and Talbot were named to the Australian women’s national basketball team that will compete in Tokyo Olympic Games this summer.