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SAN ANTONIO — The Seattle Storm made their coach happy Friday night.
Shekinna Stricklen scored a season-high 19 points and the Storm rolled to an 88-67 WNBA victory over the San Antonio Stars.
“I was really happy with how we played,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “I do think that (the Stars) missed some open shots too, they had some good looks that missed, but at the same time I think we tried to stay in place with them as much as we could, and I was really happy with how we defended them.”
Stricklen finished 8-of-13 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range. She scored 12 of her 19 points in the second quarter as the Storm began to pull away. Seattle outscored the Stars 27-16 in the period to take a 47-35 lead into the locker room. Seattle held a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Stricklen “was feeling it in the second quarter, and it really put some life into us,” Agler said. “She really had a great spurt there and I think we fed off of that.”
Crystal Langhorne added 16 points and five rebounds and Sue Bird chipped in with 14 points for Seattle (9-13). Temeka Johnson handed out eight assists and Alysha Clark finished with a season-high six rebounds.
Seattle struggled early against San Antonio’s physical defense, opening the game by shooting 3-for-11 from the floor. The Storm beat the pressure by pushing the tempo, closing the quarter with a 9-2 run.
Stricklen raced down the court for a layup just before the buzzer to give the Storm a 20-19 lead. She hit a 19-foot jumper and had another fast-break layup as part of a 7-0 run to open the second quarter.
With their offense back in sync, the Storm turned up their defensive pressure, forcing 13 turnovers that resulted in 19 points.
“Historically speaking, we’ve been one of the better defensive teams,” Bird said. “When we play good defense, we want that to lead to offense.”
San Antonio was led by rookie Kayla McBride’s 13 points, 10 of which came from the free-throw line. Danielle Robinson and Shenise Johnson each added 10 points.