By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
SEATTLE — The Seattle Storm seldom let games slip away at KeyArena, but they managed to do it on Thursday.
The Storm were just moments away from a victory over the San Antonio Stars in the waning moments of the fourth quarter before a Danielle Adams 3-pointer with 6.5 seconds to play gave the Stars new life. San Antonio took advantage of the opportunity, edging the Storm 87-82 in overtime.
“We fought really hard to get that lead in regulation,” Storm point guard Sue Bird said. “To have to go to overtime when we should have had the win, that’s where we missed a really good opportunity.”
The loss spoiled an historic night for Bird, who with her nine assists became the first player in WNBA history with 4,000 points and 2,000 assists for her career.
After trailing by as many as 12, the Storm got back into the game in the second half behind forward Camille Little’s post presence and Bird’s outside shooting.
The Storm took their first lead since the opening minutes of the game on a 3-pointer by guard Noelle Quinn 17 seconds into the fourth quarter. The Stars quickly answered with a 10-0 run to retake the lead and build a nine-point advantage.
With plenty of time remaining, the Storm methodically clawed their way back into the game, again led by Bird and back-to-back 3-pointers by Shekinna Stricklen.
“She’s been playing well,” Bird said of Stricklen. “Her consistency has definitely been a bright spot for the season.”
Alysha Clark’s layup with 1:49 to play in the fourth quarter gave the Storm the lead for just the second time in the second half, setting the stage for a thrilling finish.
San Antonio’s Becky Hammon converted a runner in the lane as the shot clock expired on the Stars’ next possession to regain the lead at 68-67.
The Storm called timeout and set up a play for Bird, who connected on her second 3 of the game to give Seattle a 70-68 lead with 44.8 seconds remaining.
Bird, who has struggled offensively in the first half of the season, finished the game with 23 points, shooting 8-for-12 from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 from the free-throw line.
“You don’t want to get too low when they aren’t going in and you don’t want to get too high when you have a night like tonight for myself,” Bird said. “I’m just trying to stay even keel and help my team win games.”
Nicole Powell added a free throw for the Storm before Adams converted the game-saving 3-pointer for the Stars. Adams scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Storm guard Tanisha Wright missed the game with a knee contusion. Agler said her status going forward is day-to-day.
Quinn and Stricklen stepped up offensively in Wright’s absence, finishing with nine and 14 points respectively.
The Stars controlled the majority of the five-minute overtime period, though the Storm had a chance in the final minute. Bird just missed her 10th assist of the game on a pass just out of the reach of Little, who was rolling to the rim. The ball rolled out of bounds and effectively ended the game.
Bird said her milestone is best left to discuss after her playing days are over.
“I did an interview yesterday and I didn’t even know that was approaching until I was told,” she said. “Stuff like that is great. If you ask me in 10 years when I’m not playing anymore, I’m sure I’ll have a better answer for you. Right now it’s just a number and it’s just a milestone. If anything, I think it speaks to everyone who I’ve played over the years with the Storm and what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
Aaron Lommers covers the Seattle Storm for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.