SEATTLE (AP) - Sue Bird's 3-pointer right before the third-quarter buzzer provided a lift at just the right time for the Seattle Storm.
Bird hit a 22-footer to put Seattle up by eight just a minute after the San Antonio Silver Stars had cut a 13-point deficit to one in the quarter.
The Storm then went on a 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter en route to a 78-64 victory over the Silver Stars on Tuesday night.
Bird finished with 17 points and Swin Cash added 16.
``Yeah, that one really hurt us,' Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said about Bird's 3-pointer.
``We didn't get the matchup on that situation, but that's what she does for them. We have to recognize that. She's a good player and is going to make those shots. That gave them some separation to play with after we'd gotten back into it.'
Bird rebounded a missed free throw by Jayne Appel, dribbled down the court and pulled up for the 3 with Appel defending her.
``I kind of had a feeling if I accelerated a little bit she (Appel) would back up,' Bird said. ``I'm not going to be able to shoot over her underneath the basket but I can definitely step back and shoot the 3. Even if I got by her, she could still make a play because she's like 8,000 inches taller.'
Bird noticed the crowd's loud reaction to the basket.
``You still have the whole quarter, but I felt a lot of energy after that play from the crowd,' Bird said.
Tanisha Wright added 12 points and seven assists for Seattle (11-8), which has won four of five and moved into a tie for third place in the Western Conference with Phoenix.
Scholanda Robinson scored 12 points, Becky Hammon 11 while Sophia Young and Jia Perkins had 10 apiece to lead second-place San Antonio (11-7), which lost its second consecutive game and dropped three games behind conference-leading Minnesota (14-4).
Seattle won its sixth straight home game to improve to 7-1, second best in the league.
The Silver Stars cut an 18-point first-half deficit to one point late in third quarter before the Storm pulled away with a 17-2 run.
Perkins hit a 3-pointer as the Silver Stars cut a 13-point deficit to 53-52 with 1:07 left in the third quarter.
But the Storm responded with a 7-0 run in the final 47 seconds of the quarter. Seattle then outscored the Silver Stars 10-2 to start the final quarter and pushed the lead to 70-54.
``It was about settling down with our defense and getting stops,' Wright said.
Appel scored seven points and Young five to ignite San Antonio's third-quarter run. Bird made two 3-pointers to help hold off the Silver Stars.
Seattle shot 14 of 17 (82.4 percent) from the field in the first quarter to lead 31-19. Cash had a team-high eight points as she hit all four of her shots. Seven players scored for the Storm.
``They came out and shot the lights out,' Hammon said. ``I thought we did a good job to fight and pull back within one, but at that point I think we had just expended so much energy to get ourselves back in the game that we didn't finish well.'
Reserve Le'coe Willingham scored seven during a 21-7 Storm run to close out the first quarter after San Antonio led 12-10.
The Storm led by 18 in the second quarter before Roneeka Hodges made two 3-pointers to help cut the lead to 44-33 at halftime.
The Silver Stars have lost six straight in Seattle since a win in 2007.
``They are very good at home and nobody is going to dispute that,' Hammon said.
San Antonio rookie Danielle Adams, who averages 14.3 points, missed her third straight game with a right ankle injury. She is expected to be out four to six weeks.
The Associated Press News Service
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