Tina Thompson leads Storm to 63-59 exhibition win over Shock
Thompson scored 19 points as Seattle won its final exhibition game before the regular season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle Storm @ Los Angeles, 5:30 p.m.
Tina Thompson said she was ready to do damage for Seattle this season.
So far, she isn't kidding. The 17-year veteran led a push in the fourth quarter to help the Storm win its final exhibition game, 63-59, over the Tulsa Shock on Friday at KeyArena.
Thompson finished with 19 points, tied for a game high, and seven rebounds. There were six lead changes and four ties in the final quarter.
"We're kind of a resilient team," said Thompson. "The tone was set in training camp of how we're going to have to grind games out and be a defensive-minded team. The great thing about that is everybody on the team has accepted that."
With 38.8 seconds left, Thompson grabbed her own rebound and hit a short jumper to put Seattle ahead for good, 58-57. Seattle then forced a turnover and new point guard Temeka Johnson hit two free throws to put Seattle ahead 60-57 with 18.3 remaining.
Tulsa's Riquna Williams, who also had 19 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, hit a jumper with 19 seconds left, but missed a possible game-winner with 14 seconds to go.
Seattle's Camille Little iced the game with a pair of shots from the foul line with 13.0 seconds left.
The bulk of the Storm's minutes went to veterans. Storm coach Brian Agler didn't plan on going that route, as he wanted to use the game as final test run for roster evaluations.
Tianna Hawkins, the team's first-round draft pick, did shine early. After Seattle was down by 12, she got the team's offense rolling with six early points off the bench.
Agler did say his staff had a strong enough evaluation to decide on Seattle's final two roster spots.
The Storm will play the season without All-Stars Lauren Jackson (hamstring) and Sue Bird (knee) due to injuries. Jackson's contract won't count against the cap or roster, but Bird's will.
Agler is monitoring the waiver wire to plug the hole left by guard Katie Smith, who signed a free-agent contract with New York this offseason. He's looked at veterans Jessica Adair (Minnesota) and Nicky Anosike (Los Angeles), who were cut during training camp.
In addition to evaluations, Friday's game was about getting Tanisha Wright back into game action. While teammates scattered the globe to play in other leagues in the offseason, Wright remained off the court to give her chronic knee pain a rest. The rust showed in her first game since Seattle lost to Minnesota in the WNBA playoffs in October.
Wright played 18 minutes and finished with three points on 1-for-8 shooting with three rebounds and two steals.
"The first quarter, my chest was burning," Wright said. "But all in all, it's cool. I've been practicing, so the feel in terms of the chemistry felt good."
Shock point guard Skylar Diggins, the No. 3 overall draft pick, finished with four points on 2-for-10 shooting from the field.
|Tulsa||17||8||12||22 — 59|
|Seattle||17||11||11||24 — 63|
A — 4,347. T — 2:01. Officials — Cameron Inouye, Clarke Stevens, Cheryl Flores.