STORM WINS: The final three minutes took 15 minutes to play, but the Storm (4-7) held on to pull out a 82-76 win before 6,849 fans at KeyArena. Wright was the star, making eight of 10 free throws, dishing out a pass to Smith for an open three-pointer and scoring two layins herself. Overall, she tallied 14 of her final 20 points in the waning minutes. Yet, she was peeved about the two FTs she missed. “It’s odd because I think for three quarters it was a very physical basketball game and then in the fourth quarter we had 63 points scored (combined),” Hughes said. “We did a good job of handling their runs and coming back, we just couldn’t get control of the game.” The Storm had its most balanced offensive production of the season, six players finishing in double-digit scoring. Thompson had 12 points off the bench to continue her streak of five games in double figures, averaging 12.2 in that span. It’s the type of display Bird talked about during training camp when the roster was finalized. “You have someone like T who can really breakdown a defense and then you have four shooters pretty much around her,” Bird said. “At that moment (in the fourth quarter) what felt like 20,000-years, minute of the game, that’s what we wanted to do – put T in a position to get baskets and if they (San Antonio) wanted to help, so be it. You had to pick your poison. That’s the real beauty of our team and you’re going to see it come out more and more.” It was Seattle’s ninth consecutive win against San Antonio at home and third consecutive victory overall. The Storm concludes the home stand against Washington on Sunday and departs for a four-game road trip on Monday. “It was good to see our whole team be aggressive in the scoring category,” Agler said. Perkins (20) and Sophia Young (16) led their team while Hammon had 13 of her final 14 points in the fourth quarter.
BREAK TIME: Seattle is up 50-45 at the end of the third quarter. San Antonio has collected themselves and is getting some offense going off Seattle miscues, scoring five points on five turnovers in the quarter. Perkins is back on the board, leading all scorers with 14 points. Thompson has 12.
STANDING OVATION: A-Rob received a standing ovation when introduced during a timeout. She smiled bashfully at the crowd’s appreciation of her return. No mention of Abrosimova by the announcer, though. Interesting. Seattle is up 50-43.
SLICK STRICK: Rookie Shekinna Stricklen is having another solid game against the Silvers Stars. A finger roll, steal, and two made FTs has helped Seattle remain ahead 47-40 with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter. Stricklen has four points off the bench. She had a team-high 14 in the loss earlier this month.
WHO’S HOT?: Seattle opened on a 5-0 to force the Silver Stars to call a timeout and discuss. Wauters made 3-foot jumper off an assist from Smith and has 2,000 points for her WNBA career.
HALFTIME: The Storm is up 32-28 at the end of the half. It was a mini run, but Seattle outscored San Antonio 6-2 to finally go up in the game. Wright had a sweet spin move in the paint to build the momentum. But she was called for an offensive foul later that took a little steam from the Storm’s roll. Regardless, Seattle’s defense is better. Perkins hasn’t scored since her quick 10 points to open the game and the Silver Stars’ overall shooting has dropped to 33.3 percent. Wright has six points and two assists at the break while Thompson still leads with nine. Smith has eight points, connecting on two three-pointers.
CLICKING: The Storm is starting to force turnovers and get some offense clicking, shooting 54.5 percent from the field in the second quarter (6 for 11). F Tina Thompson is a rock off the bench, scoring a game-high nine points. The score is tied at 28 points apiece after a turnaround jumper by Wauters.
TECH PROBLEMS: Updates are going to be extremely slow due to a connection problem with my computer.
TECH: San Antonio coach Dan Hughes is in the lead for the un-sportsmanship award this season. He received another technical foul after disagreeing for a call against C Ziomara Morrison. He charged on the court and had to be restrained by his coaching staff before deciding to join his team’s huddle. Bird made the ensuing FT and Seattle is only down 22-20 despite shooting an anemic 32 percent from the field.
BENCH PLAY: San Antonio is more efficient with the ball, shooting 46.2 percent from the field on 6 for 13 shooting. Seattle is 5 for 18 for 27.8 percent. Silver Stars G Jia Perkins is doing most of the damage, getting 10 points on 4 for 5 shooting off the bench. San Antonio leads 17-11 after the first quarter of play. Seattle’s main issue to start is missing five of six three-pointers.
SLOW START: Seattle is shooting 2 for 9 from the field to open the game, but is tied 5-5 with the Silver Stars. There’s 4:47 remaining in the opening half.
DUNLAP OUT: Storm F Victoria Dunlap is out due to a concussion. She suffered the injury in practice on Thursday and is being evaluated daily. It’s her second concussion of the season. Her mother is in attendance, however.
There’s a lot of buzz in KeyArena, but it has little to do with San Antonio and the game on Friday. Former Storm favorite Ashley Robinson is in town with her new Washington Mystics and Russian star Svetlana Abrosimova is stateside, announcing on Twitter that she’s attending the game.
Abrosimova is expected to sign with the Storm (3-7) at the end of June, possibly on Monday before the team leaves for a four-game road trip beginning with Washington and ending at Los Angles on July 7. A member of the 2010 championship team, she was cut from consideration for her country’s Olympic team, clearing the way for her to sign with Seattle.
Robinson landed in Seattle on Thursday, Washington losing at Phoenix on Wednesday. She’s attending the game with her godson and catching up with the Storm Crazies who made her a popular player.
When Storm coach Brian Agler was asked about Robinson, he was surprised at the early queries, thinking it would come Saturday. He gave a classic eye-roll when I mentioned that no one cared at San Antonio since Seattle would win.
In reality, the Storm is facing the Silver Stars (4-4) at the worst time. Not only did San Antonio hand Seattle its worst loss of the season 80-67, the Silver Stars have only played once since. San Antonio defeated LA 98-95 in overtime on June 16.
“I expect them to play well tonight because they’ve had two weeks of practice,” Agler said.
Storm G Tanisha Wright said her team didn’t compete in the first meeting. San Antonio forced 15 turnovers for 22 points and outscored Seattle 36-26 in the paint.
Seattle has won its past two games and feels its on the right path after a 1-7 start. Let’s see if they add to the buzz Robinson and Abrosimova are already creating in the building.
You know how it all starts, here are the opening lineups:
F Sophia Young
F Shameka Christon
C Jayne Appel
G Daniel Robinson
G Becky Hammon
F Katie Smith
F Camille Little
C Ann Wauters
G Tanisha Wright
G Sue Bird
Tonight’s officials are Roy Gulbeyan, Denise Brooks, and Jeff Wooten.