Storm win ninth straight, beating Lynx 73-71
Tanisha Wright's three-pointer in the final minute seals the win for Seattle as Lauren Jackson scores 14 of her 26 points in the final quarter.
Special to the Seattle Times
MINNEAPOLIS — For the 10th time in its rush to the WNBA's best record, the Storm on Saturday entered the fourth quarter trailing, this time by seven points to an improved Minnesota Lynx team the Storm struggled to beat in Seattle two months ago.
And for the eighth time, the Storm pulled it out. Tanisha Wright sank the deciding basket in the 73-71 victory, a three-pointer from the right baseline with 52.6 seconds to play. But Lauren Jackson did most of the work, scoring 14 of her 26 points in the fourth quarter as the Storm overcame 23 turnovers to win its franchise-best ninth consecutive game. The Storm also matched the 2000 Houston Comets for the second-best 20-game record in WNBA history at 18-2.
"Sometimes we've got to remind people who's on our team," Storm coach Brian Agler said. "I think sometimes they forget. It's not that we don't have other good players. We do. But we have somebody who's exceptional."
Jackson, who took eight shots before the fourth quarter, was exhausted by the end of it. She managed just enough energy to chortle with disgust when told the turnover total (23) — almost nine more than the Storm had been averaging — was a season high.
"It was?" she said. "Oh my God. Not good. We didn't play very well."
Not until the fourth quarter, anyway. The Lynx led 59-52 when Jackson took over the game, setting picks to scramble Lynx defenders and create mismatches for herself. Jackson scored 11 points in a 13-3 run that put the Storm ahead 65-62 with 5:15 to play, hitting one three-point shot and adding two three-point plays.
"She's Lauren Jackson. She's the best player in the world," said Wright, who had 10 assists. "You expect that kind of play for her."
It was 70-70 when a runner by Swin Cash (12 points, 11 rebounds) rolled off the rim with 1:35 to play. Minnesota's Rebekkah Brunson (19 points) made one of two foul shots to break the tie before Sue Bird, circling to her right off Jackson's high screen, drew Wright's defender, Seimone Augustus, to her. That left Wright alone for the winning shot.
"She's so unselfish," Wright said of Bird. "If she doesn't have a shot, or she can't find Lauren, then she makes the right play. She passed the ball, and luckily I was able to knock down the shot."
The Storm sweated out the final 13.8 seconds after Jackson won a jump ball from Hamchetou Maiga-Ba that bounced out of bounds. The prolific Augustus, held to 13 points on 4-for-17 shooting, missed a runner with 2.8 seconds to play. Bird rebounded and held on.
Storm 73, Lynx 71
|Seattle||15||21||16||21 — 73|
|Minnesota||16||21||22||12 — 71|
Attendance: 7,216 (9,379). Time: 2:02. Officials: Clarke Stevens, Brenda Pantoja, Ginter Felicia.
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