By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
SEATTLE — The New York Liberty gave Seattle every opportunity to win on Friday, but the Storm couldn’t make it happen.
The Liberty turned the ball over 22 times, but the Storm could only turn those turnovers into 13 points as New York handed Seattle its second home loss of the season, 67-62.
“We were forcing turnovers, but we didn’t score off many,” Storm forward Camille Little said. “I don’t know why.”
It wasn’t just turnovers that cost the Storm, the Liberty had an advantage, and a large one, in nearly every major statistical category. New York had 46 rebounds, 15 assists and five blocks. In those same categories, the Storm had 26, five and zero respectively.
Shooting was also a problem. The Storm shot just 33.8 (23-for-68) from the field and a horrid 1-for-18 from 3-point range. In the Storm’s last game at home, they didn’t have a 3-point field goal for just the third time in team history, shooting 0-for-17 in a loss to Tulsa. In the Storm’s last two games at home, they are 1-for-35 from the perimeter.
“We got some good looks, but we just weren’t knocking shots down tonight,” Little said. “It’s hard when you feel like you’re open and they don’t go in. We feel good, we’re all professionals. It was just one of those nights when the shots weren’t falling.”
The lone offensive bright spot for the Storm was point guard Temeka Johnson, who scored a season-high 22 points on 10-for-19 shooting. Johnson and rookie Tianna Hawkins, who made the one shot she took, were the only Storm players to shoot 50 percent or better from the field.
“I was just taking what they gave me,” Johnson said. “I was trying not take as much as they were willing to give because with a team like that they give you the first available shot. It forces you to take it and if you don’t capitalize on what they give you it actually starts their transition offense.”
Camille Little and Tanisha Wright were the only other players to score in double figures. Little finished with 12 and Wright had 10.
Wright made a layup with 4:27 to play in the game to cut the Liberty’s lead to 58-55, but the Storm went scoreless for the next 3:25.
New York was led by Cappie Pondexter, who finished with 23 points. She had just seven in the first half, but scored 16 after the break, including a clutch jumper with 50.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that made it a two-possession game.
“It’s Cappie, she is instant offense,” Johnson said. “I won a championship with her (in Phoenix) so I know what she is capable of.”
Leilani Mitchell chipped 10 points and Kara Braxton had eight points and 14 rebounds for the Liberty. In her first game at KeyArena after spending the past two seasons with the Storm, Katie Smith scored nine for New York.
The victory gave the Liberty their first win at KeyArena since 2002 after losing nine straight in the facility. The Storm haven’t lost back-to-back home games since Aug. 21 and 23 of last season.
After winning three straight games to climb over .500 for the first time at 4-3, the Storm have lost two straight. In all five of the Storm’s losses they have scored less than 75 points. They are 4-0 when scoring 75 or more.
Aaron Lommers covers the Seattle Storm for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.