Storm takes care of visiting Washington Mystics, 79-71
Sue Bird scored 22 points Tuesday afternoon at KeyArena to lead the Storm to a 79-71 victory over Washington.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Dust Tuesday's basketball for prints, and the Storm would be found all over it.
Beginning with forward Swin Cash's pass inside to Le'coe Willingham, Seattle executed another dazzling team game at KeyArena, defeating the injury depleted Washington Mystics, 79-71. Sue Bird led the Storm with 22 points in the matinee WNBA game in front of 13,384 at KeyArena.
The cohesion of Storm players further revealed a team realizing its identity.
"We always knew it, we were just letting things affect us more than we should have," said Bird, who had her fourth 20-point game of the season and third since All-Star Lauren Jackson left the lineup with a hip injury.
"Hanging onto a turnover. Hanging onto a missed assignment. In basketball, you've got to move on, but we were hanging onto some stuff and you could see it in games," Bird said. "Now we're at the point where, hey, the only way to get it back is to play each possession like it's its own."
When Washington closed within 76-71 after a turnover by Seattle's Ashley Robinson, teammate Katie Smith made a key defensive rebound with 45.9 seconds remaining, flinging the ball overhead to a racing Bird for a fast-break layin.
Bird made one of two free throws and Cash grabbed a defensive rebound to close out the game.
Seattle won back-to-back games for the first time since June 21-24 and got its first series sweep of the season. Washington hasn't won at KeyArena since 2005.
"I still want some consistency," said Little, who had 12 points and three steals. "Of all the games we play, what's two (consecutive wins)? Obviously they're important, but we still have some work to do. There are some teams we haven't even played yet."
The Mystics (2-9) played without injured stars Alana Beard (foot) and Monique Currie (knee), although leading scorer Crystal Langhorne (18.1 points per game) returned. She missed the previous three games with lower back pain.
While Langhorne provided a spark, the Mystics didn't have the defense to keep up with the Storm early. Seattle (7-4) shot 53.6 percent and had nine assists on 15 first-half field goals.
In the second half, three-point shooting helped Washington remain close. The Mystics trailed 66-64 after a three-pointer by Marissa Coleman. But Little converted a three-point play and Bird hit a timely pull-up jumper off a feed from Little to help build a 71-64 cushion with 5:30 remaining.
Every Storm starter tallied more than one assist; guard Tanisha Wright led with seven.
"This team (Washington) is dangerous," said Cash, who finished with 20 points and four steals. "I wouldn't be surprised (if) at the end of the season they're right in the mix for the playoffs. I'm glad we're done with them, actually, so now we'll focus back on the West Coast."
Seattle plays six of its next seven games on the road, beginning with Western Conference-leading San Antonio on Thursday.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com
Storm 79, Mystics 71
|Washington||16||21||20||14 — 71|
|Seattle||23||20||18||18 — 79|
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