SEATTLE (AP) Sue Bird scored eight straight points late in the fourth quarter to help the Seattle Storm beat the Chicago Sky 80-73 on Saturday night.
Bird and Crystal Langhorne both scored 19 points for the Storm (8-12). Camille Little, returning to action after missing Seattle’s loss to Los Angeles on Thursday night because of a death in her family, added 18 points. Tanisha Wright handed out 11 assists, one short of her career high.
Jessica Breland had 20 points for the Sky (8-10) while Sylvia Fowles had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Epiphanny Prince added 16 points.
The Storm, coming off a season-low 56 points and committing 18 turnovers in Thursday’s loss to the Sparks, shot 50.9 percent on Saturday (28 of 55) and had a season-low six turnovers.
”When it came time to make plays, we made them, and that’s what won the game,” said Bird, who was 7 of 13 from the field and also had two rebounds, two assists, and two steals. ”And we definitely took care of the ball – just six turnovers, that was very impressive for 40 minutes.”
Seattle coach Brian Agler acknowledged some bad taste from the Thursday game was still lingering prior to Saturday’s tipoff.
”I think they were embarrassed about that game,” Agler said. ”We didn’t play quite as bad as the score indicated. It was more how L.A. played. I thought tonight, we were running really good offense during the first half, and both teams were scoring. In the second half defensively we did a lot better and stayed in plays with them, they didn’t shoot at quite as high a percentage, and we got some turnovers down the stretch.”
Bird’s scoring run included a 20-footer from the right of the lane with 2:48 remaining to snap the 11th and final tie of the game. That gave Seattle a 73-71 lead in a game that also featured 14 lead changes.
Fowles pulled the Sky within 73-72 after hitting one of two free throws with 1:22 remaining. Bird answered with a jumper from the top of the key on a pass from Wright at the 1:07 mark. She was fouled by Jamierra Faulkner on the shot, and converted the free throw for a 76-72 lead.
Faulkner cut it to 76-73 on a free throw with 56.5 seconds left. The Sky had a chance to cut it further in the final 32 seconds after a Storm shot clock violation. But Breland lost possession on the baseline under the Chicago hoop, and Bird picked up the loose ball with 16.4 seconds left.
Alysha Clark drained two free throws, and Wright added two more in the closing seconds.
”Until we can marry our head with our heart, then get that to our legs, we’re going to keep coming up short,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. ”We’ve got to get stops, and that’s something we’ve not been able to do all year, and that’s about guts.”