WNBA: Storm tops Mystics for fifth win in a row
Sue Bird hits 9 of 14 shots en route to a 25-point night.
Special to The Seattle Times
WASHINGTON — Two days and a 2,700-mile trip to the nation's capital later, the result stayed the same.
The Storm overcame a sluggish start and weathered a furious third-quarter run to defeat the Washington Mystics for the second time in three days, getting a game-high 25 points from Sue Bird in a 79-71 victory at Verizon Center on Tuesday night.
With the win, the Storm followed up its 72-55 triumph over the Mystics at KeyArena on Sunday by extending its league-best winning streak to five games after a 1-7 start. It was just the team's second win on the road in eight tries, though.
"To get road wins in this league is very difficult," Storm coach Brian Agler said. "Our team has gotten a lot better over the last three weeks. We're all happy with it. It was a little bit of a rollercoaster today the way we played, but we finished off strong."
The Storm (6-7), which never trailed and led by as many as 14 in the first half, used outside shooting to fend off a Mystics offensive barrage in the third quarter and regain control of the game. The Mystics (2-9) threatened the Storm's lead three times, but Seattle answered with a three-pointer each time — by Bird, Katie Smith and 6-7 center Ann Wauters.
"We have a team full of players who are very tough," said Bird, who hit 9 of 14 shots from the field and iced the game with a pair of mid-range jumpers and four clutch free throws. "We've been in this league, and we're very resilient, and that's what you saw tonight, a group of people who knew we had to answer every time they made a run."
Wauters replicated her line from Sunday's win, turning in 14 points and seven rebounds, but it was her three — her fifth make in just 12 attempts this season — that put the Storm ahead to stay.
"I just took the ball, and I didn't hesitate," Wauters said. "Especially when it's in a rhythm, I like to take those shots. When it's too static, then I don't really like it, but this one was in a flow, in transition."
Tanisha Wright's driving layup — her only field goal of the game — and a free throw after a foul on Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton completed a three-point play that built the lead back up to seven with 2:26 to go in the third as part of an 11-2 run that saw the Storm go up 53-44.
The Mystics never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
Backup center Ewelina Kobryn, averaging four points and just 11 minutes per outing, scored seven straight Storm points to help the team take a 17-10 lead after the first period. Kobryn finished with a season-high nine points.
"Sometimes you need someone to step up and give us a boost, and I think Eva did that," Bird said. "We weren't really scoring there for a while, and she came in, did a great job and got us some buckets. Sometimes it takes one player to do that, and everybody else feeds off of it and relaxes and just is able to play their game. She got us going."
• The Storm released second-year forward Victoria Dunlap, opening a roster spot that appears likely to be filled by former Storm guard Svetlana Abrosimova.
"We're going to add another player on Friday," Agler said. "We're talking a lot with Svetlana right now. On the 29th we can add a (veteran) minimum salary, and she fits in that mode."
Abrosimova, 31, who spent the 2010 championship season with the Storm, worked out with the team staff on Sunday.
|Seattle||17||15||23||24 — 79|
|Washington||10||16||21||24 — 71|