STORM WINS: Jackson may never wash her face again. Thompson gave her a kiss on the right cheek prior to the game – the imprint clearly marked in hot-pink to honor the team’s promoted Breast Health Awareness game. Thompson went on to score her record 7,000th point in the first half sending the crowd of 6,459 and Jackson into a vibrant celebration. Technically Thompson already set the WNBA’s all-time scoring mark in August 2010, however, so the forward was blase Tuesday. “The good thing is I didn’t know about it until today,” said Thompson, who finished with 10 points for 7,003 total. “Before it was like, ‘When are you gonna do it? When are you gonna do it?’ So that was definitely a difference for any hoopla or fanfare behind it. For me, that was good. But for me, it’s the same thing. It’s cool, I guess.” Her early scoring helped Seattle defeat the Sky 75-60. Wauters, taking advantage of the absence of Olympic center Sylvia Fowles, was 7-for-11 from the field for a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds. Thompson was the highlight. She’s the league’s original No. 1 draft pick in 1997 and has won four WNBA championships with the defunct Houston Comets. “Tina is just a true professional comes to work everyday, takes care of herself and has one of the nicest touches on the basketball that I’ve ever been around,” Agler said. “She knows how to score. She’s a good teammate and a proven winner.” The Sky needs to continue winning and hope for a Liberty loss in order to make a first-ever postseason appearance. Both Chicago (13-19) and New York(14-18) have two games apiece remaining this season. Prince led her team with 21 points, four assists and seven rebounds. “Opportunity lost,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. “We don’t have a lot of time to wallow in it. We have a very good Atlanta team waiting for us, and that’s just the nature of our profession. Of course you look at the tactical and basketball fundamental things – that’ll be the easiest part to do. But (then have) to make them understand you have an hour to deal with this and be sick about it, then use some of that raw emotion and channel it into something positive (for Thursday).” The Storm (14-18) snapped a four-game losing streak. The players have Wednesday off before preparing for the home season finale against San Antonio on Friday. Abrosimova wore a brace around her right wrist after the game but said nothing was broken after X-rays. She should be able to practice Thursday and play Friday.
BREAK TIME: Leaving the blog a little early to work on the newspaper version and some other stories. I’ll be back for a final wrap. Seattle is up 54-28 in the third quarter. Yes, Chicago has yet to score in the second half.
ABROSIMOVA RETURNS: Abrosimova is back on the bench, diagnosed with a sprained right wrist. She played three minutes and is questionable to return to play.
HALFTIME:The Storm leads 46-28 headed into the break. The halftime show is my fav, Garfield’s HS marching band. Actually I love anybody’s marching band. Thompson leads the Storm with 10 points off the bench. Prince has 11 for the Sky. Seattle is hot from the field, shooting 57.1 percent, which Chicago can’t find a defensive set to stop. Bird is slicing them up with six assists. Vandersloot isn’t turning the ball over, but isn’t help the team with her offense (2 for 8).
HISTORY SET: You wouldn’t know it to look at her expression. But the crowd went crazy when Thompson nailed an open jumper with 9:02 remaining in the half for her 7,000 and 7,001st points in her 16-year career. The Storm is up 29-15.
ABROSIMOVA HURT?: Reserve G Svetlana Abrosimova appeared to injure her right shoulder or wrist while diving for a loose rebound. She eventually was able to jog off the court and is being treated. She was called for the foul.
SCOREBOARD: Thompson nailed two three-pointers in the first quarter for six points. She needs one more to reach 7,000. Seattle is up 26-13. Prince has seven for the Sky, but Thompson and Smith (six) are anchoring the Storm.
ANOTHER CHEER: Willingham checked in with 2:21 left in the quarter and was also cheered by the KeyArena faithful. Just as important, G Ticha Penicheiro returned to the lineup, missing the past five games. It is her 38th birthday. You gotta play on your birthday, right? Seattle’s up 21-11.
BIRD TALES: Bird is her usual self, making the offense move with pinpoint shots and passes. She has four points and four assists early. Smith leads all scorers with six points off two three-pointers. Seattle is up 16-9 with 4:25 left in the first quarter.
TWO CHEERS: As expected, Vandersloot and Cash received rousing ovations during player introductions. Of Cash and Willingham’s return, Agler said, “I root for them when we’re not playing them. I want to see them do well. I know their aspirations for making multiple changes on the team this year were to be in the playoffs…So, sentimental? I guess so a little bit. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to try to win.”
Chicago stars Courtney Vandersloot, Swin Cash and Le’coe Willingham are hoping a little “home” time will cultivate enough positive mojo to get a needed win. Vandersloot is a native of Covington and is making her second return as a WNBA player. Cash and Willingham helped the Storm win its 2010 championship.
After some shopping and dinner with familiar faces, the Sky needs to defeat the Storm in order to stay alive for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. New York lost 77-66 at San Antonio to keep the door open for Chicago (13-18) to qualify. It would be the Sky’s first playoff appearance in seven years.
Seattle (13-18) will have PG Sue Bird back in the lineup after suffering a twinge in her left hip. Reserve Alysha Clark is also back after bout with the sniffles. But C Lauren Jackson remains out due to a sore right hamstring. Storm coach Brian Agler said he expects her to return to practice on Thursday and possibly play Friday for the home season-finale against the Silver Stars.
Prior to the game Storm F Camille Little was presented with Sunday’s game ball after accumulating her 1,000th game ball. Teammate Tina Thompson needs seven points to record a record 7,000 in her WNBA career.
Who will go home with their goal achieved? It starts with your opening lineups:
F Swin Cash
F Tamara Young
C Carolyn Swords
G Epiphanny Prince
G Courtney Vandersloot
F Katie Smith
F Camille Little
C Ann Wauters
G Tanisha Wright
G Sue Bird
Tonight’s officials are Kurt Walker, Felicia Grinter, Tim Greene.