Late surge lifts Storm to 71-65 victory over San Antonio to snap losing streak
Sue Bird and Crystal Langhorne lead the way for Seattle
Seattle Times staff reporter
San Antonio was just what Seattle needed.
Of the 11 other WNBA teams, San Antonio is the one Seattle has had the most success against, and can relate the most to their shortcomings.
The Stars lack an imposing front line and possess an equally inconsistent perimeter game, and Sunday was no different as Storm guard Sue Bird picked apart the Stars late in the game for a 71-65 victory at KeyArena.
“It feels good,” said Bird, whose late scoring had the 5,736 in attendance roaring like the old days in the facility.
The triumph ended Seattle’s seven-game losing streak. The Storm’s last victory was in San Antonio on July 11. In addition to shaking the funk of losing, Seattle (10-20) also needed the victory to keep any postseason hopes alive.
Los Angeles defeated Connecticut 70-69 Sunday to keep its hold on one of the final two playoff positions in the Western Conference. Now the Stars (13-16) hold the fourth and final slot, despite dropping the season series against the Storm, 3-1.
The Stars took a 52-51 lead with 6:02 left in the game on a layin by guard Danielle Robinson.
Later, Storm forward Camille Little made a pair of free throws to tie the score at 57 with 3:40 left.
Then Bird was the catalyst behind a 10-4 spurt to help save a game Seattle once led by 18 points.
Bird set up a play for herself, found post Crystal Langhorne for an eventual three-point play and converted a steal into a layin to build a 67-61 lead for Seattle with 1:46 left.
Guard Tanisha Wright, who was honored for playing in her 10th WNBA season, finished the scoring with a pair of free throws.
“The players, at some point, they get tired of losing,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “And they either regain a sharper focus or they get something back that drives them inside. And I think several of those people made plays that showed that out there tonight.”
Bird finished with 10 points and four assists. Langhorne had 19 points and 10 rebounds while Little had 15 points and seven rebounds.
Kayla McBride led San Antonio with 17 points and Danielle Adams finished with 14 off the bench. But both were forced into errors by Seattle’s defense.
“Losing is draining,” Langhorne said. “We had such a big lead and then we lost the lead. But, you know, we fought. This team is tough and it’s been hard, but we keep fighting.”
The Storm used strong three-point shooting to build a 33-15 lead in the second quarter. Seattle led 36-21 at the break with its reserves outscoring San Antonio’s bench 18-3.
“The deficit was difficult for us,” San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said. “You expend a lot of energy to get back into the game. We got back but we didn’t finish.”
• Agler signed center Waltiea Rolle to a third and final seven-day contract. Under CBA rules, Rolle will have to either be cut or signed through the remainder of the regular season when the contract expires next week. Rolle played five minutes Sunday.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com.