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August 2, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Game thread: San Antonio at Seattle

STORM WINS: Wright blared gospel music driving in to dismantle San Antonio 78-64 on Tuesday. She stayed in her car to belt the final versus of “He Wants it All” by Forever Jones. In a twist on the meaning, she gave it all on the court, Seattle using its defense to rattle the Silver Stars. In fact, Wright doesn’t believe her night against Hammon was anything spectacular given her size advantage and the team’s collective effort in running the ball over San Antonio much the way Minnesota did Seattle on the road. Seattle shot 53.6 percent from the field, Bird leading all scorers with 17 points. Wright added 12 with seven assists and Cash had 16 with nine boards. True, San Antonio made a run, but Wright and Bird ended any thoughts of them winning the game. “We just needed to settle down and think about our defense,” said Wright of when the Silver Stars pulled within one in the third quarter. “We knew we could do better. We came back out re-focused and made a push toward the end.” San Antonio didn’t help itself by shooting a season-low 53.8 percent from the FT line (7 of 13), particularly Jayne Appel’s two misses as Seattle was regaining momentum at the end of the third quarter. That cleared the path for Bird’s dagger three-pointer. “For us, it’s deflating,” said Hammon, who had 11 points and four assists. “(Bird) is their primary go-to player, you have to find her and know where she is at all times. She’s capable of hitting big shots. Hopefully we’ll learn and move on.” Seattle is off on Wednesday, returning to practice on Thursday to prepare for Connecticut (11-6). It’s a big test for the Storm, which plays eight games at home in August. Seattle is tied with Phoenix for third in the West, owning the head-to-head tiebreaker and is a half-game behind San Antonio, leading that series 2-1. With the Silver Stars (11-7) playing at Minnesota (14-4) next and Connecticut playing at Phoenix (11-8), the Storm (11-8) could find itself second in conference standings by Monday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Today was Agler’s birthday, C Ashley Robinson has already began the countdown to hers, which is 10 days away.
STANDING O: Wright and Bird were hunched over at halfcourt and the Storm was up 18, so coach Brian Agler opted to pull his stars. The Key stood and and applauded their gritty play, the Storm going on a 10-2 run to open the fourth quarter to regain control of the game. Bird finished with 17 points and five assists while Wright had 12 points and seven assists. G Belinda Snell and newcomer Allie Quigley replaced the duo. Seattle is up 78-62 with 40 seconds on the clock.
FOR THREE: Know how bird droppings ruin your car and day? Must have been the feeling for San Antonio after Bird dropped a three-pointer on them with 0.5 on the clock to make the deficit 60-52 headed into the final quarter. She has 13 points and four assists while Seattle ended the quarter on a 7-0 run.
SHHHH!: The jumbotron said “Noise”, but San Antonio G Jia Perkins muzzled the crowd with a dagger three-pointer that pulled the Silver Stars within 53-52 with 1:06 remaining in the quarter. No worries, Cash made two FTs and Wright drove to the hoop for a layin to put Seattle back up 57-52.
STOPPAGE: San Antonio is trying to creep within single digits of Seattle’s lead to opening the second half, but a Bird three-pointer and jumper has increased it to 10 each time. Seattle is up 51-41 with 3:52 left in third quarter. The Silver Stars are shooting better and getting more physical with Seattle to stay in the game. KeyArena would add that the officials are also helping, bailing the Silver Stars out on a few key possessions.
WILLINGHAM RETURNS: Willingham is back in the game, promptly getting scored on by Young. Seattle up 41-28.
MAILBAG: A poster want to know tonight’s theme and it’s breast health awareness. The Storm had survivors, persons who work in the medical field, and supporters stand to be recognized. Seattle is up 41-23 with 4:40 remaining in the second quarter. The Silver Stars have only scored four points in the quarter.
WILLINGHAM HURT?: On an offensive play inside, WIllingham tumbled to the court and was escorted off by trainer Tom Spencer. Seattle is still in control of the game, leading 33-21 with 8:21 left in the half. the Storm is dominating the paint 20-4.
TOO HOT: The Storm is shooting 93.3 percent from the field! F Le’coe Willingham has seven points off the bench while Cash has eight for the starters. Seattle leads 31-19.
SCOREBOARD: Phoenix lost 90-73 on the road to Minnesota on Tuesday. Seattle could help itself in conference standings if it were able to hand San Antonio a loss. Both are ahead of them in playoff positioning. The Lynx, now healthy, are on a franchise-best seven-game win streak. Seattle is running game on San Antonio, building a 24-14 lead with 2:15 remaining in the opening quarter.
NEW LOOK: The Times is going to be launching a homepage redesign tonight. Unfortunately it’s going to briefly interrupt my ability to get live game updates to you in tonight’s game thread. Our producers tell me that interruption is going to occur at roughly 7:55 p.m. and last for about 20 minutes. I’ll still be here blogging so stick around and you should be able to see all my updates immediately after the interruption.
I’m late, little bit of news in Storm C Lauren Jackson signing a three-year contract to hopefully remain in Seattle through the end of her WNBA career. Hopeful because there’s always trades, but Seattle may revolt if that were to happen.
You can read more about Jackson in the newspaper. For now, the Storm is preparing to open up the home stretch of its season at home. Seattle was 6-6 in July, keeping afloat and hold of the fourth and final playoff berth.
San Antonio is in the house and majority of KeyArena, including the team, is decked out in pink in honor of breast health awareness. Seattle is 1-1 against the Silver Stars this season, but San Antonio is playing its third game without rookie sensation Danielle Adams (right ankle).
Let’s get to it with your starting line ups:
F Sophia Young
F Sholanda Robinson
C Ruth Riley
G Tully Bevilaqua
G Becky Hammon
F Swin Cash
F Camille Little
C Ashley Robinson
G Sue Bird
G Tanisha Wright
Tonight’s officials are Tony Dawkins, Eric Brewton, and Lauren Holtkamp.



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