Storm is one win from WNBA title
Storm defeats Dream 87-84, takes 2-0 lead as WNBA Finals move to Atlanta.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Hope the last person to leave KeyArena on Tuesday turned off the lights.
The Storm doesn't plan on coming back — at least not to play.
Seattle used textbook defensive pressure late to prevent a talented Atlanta team from pulling off an upset, winning Game 2 of the best-of-five WNBA Finals 87-84. The Storm, bumped in the opening round of its previous five postseason appearances, is now just one victory from winning its second championship.
"I'm kind of sad the next (one or two) games aren't going to be here," said Storm forward Lauren Jackson, who finished with 26 points and seven rebounds. "(But) hopefully we can get it done next game."
Game 3 is Thursday at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Game 4, if necessary, would also be in Atlanta on Sunday. The Dream must win those two to force a winner-take-all Game 5 in Seattle next Tuesday.
"Just to be out there was great," said Storm All-Star Swin Cash, who finished with 19 points and three assists. "We just played great tonight. We didn't play our best basketball, but well enough to win, and that's what I'm happy about."
And this time, Cash wouldn't be stopped.
Free from the foul trouble that handcuffed her in Game 1, Cash was a one-person road block, deflecting or blocking passes, and snagging loose balls. The effort opened up teammates in the fourth quarter, getting points in transition for Jackson and Camille Little down the stretch.
Cash even contributed offensively late, scoring a big three-pointer with 2:10 remaining in the game to give Seattle an 81-73 lead. But Dream All-Star Angel McCoughtry and her teammates continued to push.
McCoughtry's three-pointer with 16.5 seconds remaining might have caused many of the 13,898 in attendance to wonder if Seattle's home dominance — 20-0 entering Tuesday night — would end. But the Storm made 6 of 8 free throws in the final 30 seconds to close out the game.
Seattle finished with more free throws made (27) than Atlanta attempted (23).
"Angel gives it back to you and there's a lot of times when we're off the ball that we're swinging arms and everything else," said Cash of McCoughtry, who was 7 of 23 from the field for 21 points and nine rebounds. "I'm not going to back down from anyone, I don't care how big you are or fast or strong or whatever. That's just not my style."
McCoughtry, who usually struggles against the Storm, didn't credit the Storm defense. Seattle guard Tanisha Wright also helped slow the 2009 Rookie of the Year.
"I just missed my shots," she said. "You're going to miss them. You're going to have bad days. I had good looks. Usually I knock them down, but I didn't."
Seattle had an eight-point lead in the opening half, but Atlanta wings McCoughtry and Iziane Castro Marques led a surge in the final two minutes, pulling Atlanta to 49-47 on a three-pointer by McCoughtry at the buzzer.
"Defense is what is going to get us to the championship," said Storm guard Sue Bird, who finished with 10 points and five assists. "Our defense came up big when we needed it to.
"It felt like for a while there we were creating a lot of turnovers and making them take tough shots and getting the rebound."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Storm 87, Dream 84
|Atlanta||21||26||18||19 — 84|
|Seattle||19||30||20||18 — 87|
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