Storm rallies for 82-76 victory over Washington
Sue Bird and Tanisha Wright scored 16 points each and the Seattle Storm rallied from 15 down to beat the Washington Mystics 82-76.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Storm @ Chicago, 5 p.m.
Washington coach Julie Plank worked her sideline like the trainer of a prizefighter.
On the court, her Mystics swung, ducked and jabbed to score baskets and deny the Storm attempts in a physical game at KeyArena. But Washington couldn't go all rounds with Seattle, becoming the Storm's fourth opponent to get knocked out by a late rally.
The Storm used a 14-8 run to open the final quarter in an 82-76 come-from-behind win before 6,612 on Tuesday. It's the first time in Seattle's 11-year WNBA history it has opened the season 4-0.
"It was a little bit more like Tae Bo, because you have to use your legs a little bit more, too," said Storm forward Swin Cash of the aerobic exercise that felt like the game. "We felt their presence out there tonight, and once we settled into it in the second half, we were used to it. They punched us, we punched back."
Trailing 51-41 with 1:30 remaining in the third quarter, forwards Camille Little, Svetlana Abrosimova and Le'coe Willingham established Seattle's fight. They made tough baskets, grabbed rebounds and made defensive stops to inch the Storm to five points of Washington's lead, 51-46, at the end of the quarter.
Seattle took the lead for good on a three-pointer by All-Star Sue Bird with 6:33 remaining in the game. The Storm was 6 of 10 from beyond the arc in the second half after entering the game shooting 26.7 percent overall from three-point range.
And although the Mystics crept to 74-71 with 1:09 remaining, Bird made six free throws in the final 32.4 seconds to seal the win.
"I'm disappointed in the loss," said Mystics guard Monique Currie, who led her team with a game-high 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting. "This was definitely a game we could've won and should've won."
Washington (3-2) hasn't won at KeyArena since 2005. Seattle is molding the Key into a house of pain, compiling a 32-5 record there since coach Brian Agler took the position in 2008.
"Sometimes I think we take for granted what we have instead of pounding people from the beginning for 40 minutes and playing hard," said Little, who scored all 11 of her points in the third quarter. "We haven't had a full game of playing well, yet. That's something we need to work on."
Jackson, the Western Conference's reigning Player of the Week, scored nine of her 14 points in the fourth quarter while Bird had 11 of her season-high 16 in the quarter. Guard Tanisha Wright also had 16 points and Willingham finished with eight points and six rebounds to guide Seattle.
"There are going to be teams that are going to try to rough you up," said Willingham, who played the majority of the fourth quarter in place of Little. "They (Mystics) were doubling Lauren and really trying to make it extremely hard for her. Anybody who came in the paint, they were making it hard. But everyone should be proud of themselves because we were able to play through all of that."
• Serbian Tijana Krivacevic, the Storm's third-round draft pick, watched the game at KeyArena. She's in America visiting her sister in New York and made a three-day trip to Seattle to scout her WNBA team. Agler doesn't expect her to play until possibly 2011.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com
Storm 82, Mystics 76
|Washington||17||21||13||25 — 76|
|Seattle||11||16||19||36 — 82|
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