Adams scores 39 to lift Silver Stars over Dream
SAN ANTONIO (AP)
Danielle Adams capped the San Antonio Silver Stars' disappointing season on a positive note.
Adams scored a franchise-record 39 points to help the Silver Stars rout the playoff-bound Atlanta Dream 97-68 on Sunday.
''Oh,'' Adams said, still surprised by news of the record. ''I didn't even know that, but it's a great feeling. It's a team effort. My teammates found me, and I just finished plays. It's just a blessing.''
Adams drove the lane for a spinning layup to top the franchise record of 38 points set by Becky Hammon on July 30, 2009, against Sacramento. A second-year forward from Texas A&M, Adams was 13 for 23 from the field and 10 for 12 on free throws.
She left the game with 1:36 remaining to a standing ovation and was immediately congratulated by Hammon, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during the first half of her only game this year.
''She told me, `Good game, way to play, good game, kid,''' Adams said. ''I look up to her. It's always good things coming from her.''
Adams outscored Atlanta's starting lineup 39-29.
Shameka Christon had 24 points, Shenise Johnson added 20 points and Jia Perkins 10 for San Antonio (12-22). Kayla Alexander's four points were the only scored by the Silver Stars' three-player bench.
''This last game let's just go out with a win and have fun because we play better when we're having fun,'' Christon said. ''It has been a very tough season, I don't think you make it up with all the injuries; however I think the people we had did a great job of showing a lot of hard work a lot of heart, a lot of character. It makes all of us excited for next year because we just kind of think of how many games we were in and if we just had our extra pieces, how well we would have won.''
Alex Bentley had 17 points and former Silver Stars center Ruth Riley had 10 points for Atlanta (17-17). The Dream, who are the second seed in the Eastern Conference, lost four straight to close the regular season. They will play Washington in the opening round of the playoffs.
''I think we just played hard,'' Bentley said. ''They shot really well. I think everybody came off the bench and played hard. We're just trying to stay positive going into the playoffs.''
San Antonio, which will miss the postseason for the first time in seven seasons, had its highest point total of the season in snapping a four-game losing streak, its third in an injury-filled year.
''We said this is our playoff game,'' Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said. ''This is the first game of 2014 for us and it gives us a chance to end the year on a win and talk about what we're going for in that situation.''
The Silver Stars only had seven players suited up with Sophia Young, Hammon, Danielle Robinson Davellyn Whyte and Chelsea Poppens all sitting out with injuries.
San Antonio outworked Atlanta, getting 18 fast-break points compared to five by the Dream and scoring 24 points off 15 turnovers.
''As players we had to step up and we all stepped up,'' Adams said. ''It wasn't a good season for us, but we all went out and gave our efforts each and every game despite the injuries and all the little nicks and nacks we had. Having seven players and eight players on the road, we just all gave our efforts for each other. That was our goal this season, to play for each other.''
Adams played 29 minutes in raising her scoring average from 13.9 points to a team-high 14.3. She also had eight rebounds, two steals and an assist.
''Adams was amazing,'' Hughes said. ''I tell you what was nice she's going down the stretch and she's giving the ball up on double teams.
''When we saw what was happening from an injury standpoint, we went to a situation where we wanted to develop our young players. I think she's a great example of it. I think her development was pretty obvious.''
Adams had 24 points in the first half, including 10 as San Antonio outscored Atlanta 31-18 to take a 55-38 lead. San Antonio outscored Atlanta 30-9 bridging the second and third quarters in taking a 63-38 lead with 7 minutes left in the third.
''For San Antonio, they are a 3-point shooting team,'' Atlanta coach Fred Williams said. ''They do a good job of drives and kicks, so it's hard to defend that when you're defending the pick-and-roll and they kick out to Adams, who can really hit some long-range bombs on you.''
Adams was 2 for 3 on 3s in the first half. She also made a free throw to complete a three-point play that gave the Silver Stars a 43-33 lead with 3 minutes left in the half.
''Her ability to face up and make plays was evident, too,'' Hughes said. ''It was just a really special game for Danielle Adams.''
The franchise record enabled Adams to pass Perkins for the team lead in scoring this season.
Perkins was 5 for 10 from the field, but 0 for 2 on 3-pointers. She had four steals, including two on inbounds, converting both into layups, the second of which gave San Antonio a 75-47 lead with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.
''This game for us is a start for 2014,'' Hughes said. ''The situation we dealt with certainly was unprecedented in a lot of ways, but yet I feel like we got growth and you got to see some of the growth tonight.''