Storm erupts for first win | WNBA
The Storm takes control in the second half and wins its first game of the season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Storm @ Los Angeles, 5:30 p.m., KONG
The crowd of 7,489 roared, but Seattle knew Tulsa's defense was just about to do the same.
The Storm reeled off a 12-3 spurt midway through the third quarter to take a 48-42 advantage, leading Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg to call a timeout. He emphasized stepping up his signature defense.
But unlike its first three games this season, the Storm was ready and went on to a 76-58 win at KeyArena on Friday.
"We felt like it was time to take over and extend the lead," Storm forward Camille Little said. "They called a timeout to try to stop our run and we wanted to come in and make a stop and keep it moving. It was a test for us, and I think we passed it."
After Kloppenburg's timeout, Seattle went about 2-½ minutes without scoring as the Shock cut Seattle's lead to 48-45.
But Seattle, getting good ball movement and solid bench play, responded with an 18-3 run over the next six minutes to take a 66-48 lead.
Storm captain Sue Bird broke out of her offensive slump, scoring a game-high 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting. She was shooting 32.3 percent from the field (29.4 from three-point range) and averaging a career-high 4.0 turnovers while Seattle was struggling to an 0-3 start.
Little added 19 points and nine rebounds, compensating for an off night from center Ann Wauters, who had two points in 24 minutes.
"One thing that was mentioned was keeping them down," Bird said. "It might have been going into the fourth quarter, 'OK, we have a lead, now is when we really put them and this game away.' We didn't do that the couple times we had a chance, and you could sense it in those moments when they came back. We didn't want to give them a chance in the fourth quarter."
The message was so clear team-wide that Bird and Wauters sat an extended period as their team continued its run. Storm coach Brian Agler played Polish center Eva Kobryn in the critical fourth quarter as she was stronger in the paint.
Kobryn had seven points and five rebounds off the bench.
Seattle (1-3) avoided matching its worst start in franchise history, when it was 0-4 in its inaugural season. The Storm has a six-game winning streak against Tulsa (0-5).
Agler also collected his 212th overall win, surpassing former Houston coach Van Chancellor for most wins in professional women's basketball in the United States.
Chancellor, who won four WNBA titles, didn't coach in the defunct American Basketball League as Agler did for 2 ½ years.
"We started back in 1996 and you never knew how long these things would go," Agler said. "He would say the same thing, you've got to have great players."
And Friday, despite some glitches, the new edition of the Storm played great.
• Storm CEO and president Karen Bryant was named to the 2012 class for the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame. The ceremonial banquet is in September. Bryant was a high-school star in Edmonds in addition to helping orchestrate the rise of two professional women's basketball franchises.
• The Storm's Victoria Dunlap did not dress because of a concussion suffered in practice.
|Tulsa||14||21||11||12 — 58|
|Seattle||17||19||21||19 — 76|