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Storm stay perfect

Seattle rallies to beat Minnesota 68-64 and remain unbeaten at home

  • Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen (right) is double-teamed by Seattle's Sue Bird (left) and Camille Little in the fourth quarter Tuesday. The Storm won 68-64...

    Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

    Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen (right) is double-teamed by Seattle's Sue Bird (left) and Camille Little in the fourth quarter Tuesday. The Storm won 68-64.

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  • Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen (right) is double-teamed by Seattle's Sue Bird (left) and Camille Little in the fourth quarter Tuesday. The Storm won 68-64...

    Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

    Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen (right) is double-teamed by Seattle's Sue Bird (left) and Camille Little in the fourth quarter Tuesday. The Storm won 68-64.

SEATTLE -- Through one half of Tuesday night's game between the Seattle Storm and the Minnesota Lynx, the Storm did not look like a team that was undefeated at home.
But it's not how you start, it's how you finish.
The Storm finished like the team that is 26-6 and has the best record in the WNBA, defeating the Minnesota Lynx 68-64. The Storm outscored the Lynx 40-25 in the second half to earn the victory.
"This was not an easy game. I think we faced a team tonight that was very hungry because they are trying to get into the playoffs," Storm point guard Sue Bird said.
The Storm look to complete the season undefeated at home (16-0) when they face the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday.
Bird had her share of individual struggles in the game, shooting just 1-for-8 from the field. She was visibly frustrated from her offensive woes, but that didn't stop her from knocking down a big shot for Seattle with 2:05 remaining in the game to give the Storm a 64-62 lead.
"Shots … sometimes they fall, sometimes they don't," Bird said. "We needed a shot to go in, and luckily one of mine finally fell. Sometimes you've got to play through games like that."
Bird's shot came from the top of the key at the left elbow, where she had just missed a shot a few possessions earlier.
"I wasn't missing that one," she said.
"Sue hit a big shot when we needed it," Storm head coach Brian Agler said.
Seattle forward Swin Cash hit a big shot of her own just a few moments later when she took a Lauren Jackson pass and scored inside to give the Storm the lead for good at 66-64.
"It was a great pass by Lauren. I saw the mismatch inside and tried to post up and take advantage," Cash said.
Jackson, an MVP candidate, scored 24 points and was 9-for-18 from the field, including four big 3s.
Jackson said it was good for the team to get back to more of their normal rotation. The Storm had been resting many of their players in games over the past week.
Seattle had lost its previous two games on the road and appeared headed toward a similar fate for the first time at home this season, but the Storm came out inspired in the third quarter.
"It wasn't a fluke that we won as many games as we did this year. We are actually that good." Jackson said.
Despite how good the Storm may be, they came out flat in the first half. The Lynx quickly built a 10-2 lead, which they pushed to 24-12 at the end of the first quarter. They held a 39-28 lead at the end of the first half.
"We were sort of dysfunctional in the first half," Agler said.
The Storm, however, got a spark from Cash at the end of the first half. Cash chased down Minnesota guard Lindsay Whalen on a clear fast break and blocked her shot into the crowd preventing an open lay-up. The play, which happened with 50 seconds remaining in the first half, brought the crowd to its feet and momentum carried into the second half.
"It's huge. We have the greatest fans in the league I think, personally. To have them behind us when we are down, when we're up, it's a good feeling. You don't want to lose in front of them," Storm center Camille Little said of the crowd's energy.
Little pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds Tuesday.
The Storm have two regular-season games remaining, at Phoenix on Friday and Saturday's home game against L.A.
Agler said the starters will play "solid minutes," against Phoenix and that the rotation will most likely be normal for Saturday's regular-season finale.
Many players expressed excitement to go after the undefeated home record.
"It's big. It's something that is prideful. It's fun playing in front of them," Little said.
"There is not a question, our players have a lot of pride in playing here," Agler said.
Storm stays alive
With Tuesday's win, the Storm kept alive their hope to be the only WNBA team to ever go 17-0 at home for the season. Seattle also has a chance to tie the 2001 Los Angeles Sparks for the most wins in WNBA history with 28.
Wright reaches milestone
Storm guard Tanisha Wright came into Tuesday's game needing just three rebounds to give her 500 for her career; she grabbed six boards to push her over the milestone.
Story tags » ExplosionNBA

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