SEATTLE (AP) Crystal Langhore and Sue Bird came through for the Seattle Storm with the type of big plays that had been absent during a seven-game losing streak.
Langhorne scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half to help the Storm beat the San Antonio Stars 71-65 on Sunday night. She scored seven and Bird added five in the final three minutes of the game after the Stars had rallied from an 18-point first half deficit to take a 59-57 lead.
Bird had a key steal and layup to give Seattle a 67-61 lead after Langhorne had delivered two three-point plays and Bird had hit a short jumper.
”Sue made a huge play defensively with the steal and the layup,” said Storm coach Brian Agler, pleased to see a number of big plays by his team late in the game. ”People that have watched us play over the years, that’s what they’re used to seeing down the stretch.”
Camille Little added 15 points and Bird 10 for Seattle (10-20), which moved within 3 1/2 games of the Stars for the fourth and final playoff berth with just four games left.
”It was just a couple of consecutive plays that I was able to be a part of and able to make,” Bird said about the fourth-quarter rally. ”The first time was a look for myself. The second time they came to me so I found Crystal. And defensively we were able to do just enough to get a win.”
Langhorne, in her first year with the Storm, downplayed her role.
”Actually, I still think I missed a lot of chippies,”said Langhorne, who also had 10 rebounds. ”But I tried to be aggressive, going with the roll and trying to get to the high post and attack and not set up for jumpers but getting into the paint and finish looks.”
Kayla McBride scored 17 and Danielle Adams 14 – all in the second half – to lead San Antonio (13-16), which fell a half game behind Los Angeles for third place in the west. The Stars have lost seven of nine but still are three up on Tulsa for the final playoff spot.
”We got back into it but we didn’t finish some defensive plays,” Stars coach Dan Hughes said. ”Part of it was you have to expend so much energy coming back from 18 (points down).”
Agler remained confident his team would eventually end its long losing streak.
”The players at some point just get tired of losing,” Agler said. ”They either regain a sharper focus or get something back that drives them inside. I think several of those people that made plays showed that out there tonight.”
The Storm took the season series from San Antonio 3-1.
”Hopefully, a taste of this can help propel us the rest of the season,” Bird said. ”I know that it doesn’t look good for us but truth be told anything can happen and all we can do is take care of ourselves. We have four games left, three at home, so hopefully we can at least feel like we felt tonight in this building for us and our fans.”