Good shooting helps Storm build big early lead in beating San Antonio 79-72
Seattle shoots a season-best 57 percent and then holds on at the end.
Special to The Seattle Times
SAN ANTONIO – Tanisha Wright scored 15 points and Camille Little added 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting as the Storm defeated the San Antonio Stars 79-72 in WNBA action Friday night at AT&T Center.
Seattle (5-7) shot a season-best 57 percent from the floor and led the entire game against San Antonio (4-6), but still almost blew another big lead for the second consecutive game.
Seattle lost after holding an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter Wednesday at Indiana. Friday, the Storm led San Antonio by 22 points with less than four minutes to go in the third quarter after Shekinna Stricklen (10 points on 4-for-8 shooting) hit a long baseline jumper.
The Stars outscored Seattle 24-8 during a 6½-minute stretch in the fourth, and part of that came from San Antonio going 8 for 9 at the foul line. The Storm hung on to just a 73-70 lead with 2:14 left in the game after rookie Kayla McBride hit a three-pointer for the Stars.
“The same thing we did tonight, we did Wednesday at Indiana — we put them on the free-throw line late in the game,” said Storm coach Brian Agler, remembering Indiana went 10 for 14 from the line in the fourth quarter. “The same thing was happening here, and I was very concerned about it.”
But McBride’s three-pointer was a rare hit for San Antonio. The Stars shot 41 percent from the floor (they missed 15 of their opening 20 shots) and went 3 for 18 from three-point range.
The Stars also missed three of their final four shots, and that included two missed three-pointers. One of those came from Danielle Adams, who led San Antonio with 18 points.
“We had some clutch possessions offensively and had some stops down the stretch that helped us out,” Agler said. “We were fortunate, but overall we kind of like the way we played tonight.”
Wright, who committed three turnovers in the fourth, managed to come up with a pair of those clutch baskets Agler talked about. She was 2 for 3 from the floor in the fourth and hit a pair of free throws.
Seattle’s Tameka Johnson had a hand in a pair of baskets following McBride’s score. She scored on a drive that gave Seattle a 75-70 lead, and she found Crystal Langhorne off the high pick-and-roll that Langhorne was able to convert into a basket despite being fouled by Sophia Young-Malcolm. Langhorne missed the free throw, but Seattle had pushed the lead back out to seven points with 1:24 to go.
“That was all a take-what-they-give-us situation,” said Johnson, who had seven assists in almost 23 minutes off the bench (she also scored 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting). “I threaded the needle a little bit there (on the pick-and-roll pass), and Crystal was able to finish it. Crystal saved me there.”
Langhorne had 10 points and nine rebounds. Sue Bird added four assists, and she’s 11 short of 2,000 for her career. She’ll become the first player in the WNBA to score more than 4,000 points and hand out more than 2,000 assists.
The Storm, which has won two of three, will finish its four-game road trip Sunday in Tulsa, then return home Thursday against the Stars.