While their record leaves much to be desired, the Seattle Storm showed they're still capable of playing with the league's best last weekend.
A visit from the San Antonio Silver Stars could help them really get going.
With both teams coming off back-to-back victories for the first time this season, the Storm try to extend their home winning streak over the Silver Stars to nine Friday night.
Seattle lost seven of its first eight before defeating hapless Tulsa for the second time last Friday, 86-73. The Storm (3-7) may have turned a corner two nights later, winning 65-62 over previously undefeated Minnesota.
Seattle took a 43-29 lead into halftime before withstanding a late fourth quarter rally by the Lynx, who were limited to 37.5 percent shooting.
"I think tonight it started with our defense and being able to run with them," point guard Sue Bird said after scoring a game-high 21 points. "We generated offense from it and put them on their heels a little bit. That's really what we've been about the last couple of years."
Seattle, which has a chance to become the only team to reach the postseason nine straight times, is allowing 72.3 points per game to rank second in the league.
"We obviously want to be a great defensive team. We also want to be looked at as a team that plays together at both ends of the floor and does the little things on the floor," coach Brian Agler said.
"(The Lynx) are the best team in the league. All the teams are going to get better. We want to stay on that path."
Seattle has won by an average of 14.3 points during its home win streak over the Silver Stars (4-4), but San Antonio beat the Storm 80-67 on June 9 for its second win in the last 12 meetings.
The Silver Stars went on to defeat Los Angeles one week later, outscoring the Sparks 15-2 in overtime during Saturday's 98-85 victory. Sophia Young and Becky Hammon each had 24 points for San Antonio, which scored 30 points off Los Angeles' 19 turnovers.
"The leadership of Sophia Young was amazing," coach Dan Hughes said. "Sophia Young played with an intensity that was infectious for us. I've benefited from watching a lot of Sophia's games, but that one really showed not only her offensive end but her defensive end. She was incredibly active and really led us in this situation."
Slowing down Bird could prove key if the Silver Stars hope to make it three wins in a row. The Storm are 0-7 when Bird is held to 15 points or fewer, and she's averaging 23.0 points on 26-of-42 shooting (62.0 percent) in their wins.
Bird had a season worst-tying five points on 1-of-13 shooting versus San Antonio earlier this month.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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