SEATTLE (AP) - Lauren Jackson and Tanisha Wright ignited the Storm in the fourth quarter after Seattle's offense struggled most of the game.
Wright scored six of her 16 points and Jackson had six of her 13 in the fourth quarter to help the Storm beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 63-55 on Tuesday night.
``I thought we started playing with a purpose at the end,' Seattle coach Brian Agler said. ``I don't think we played with a purpose other than early in the game. Lauren made a couple of Lauren Jackson plays with turnaround jump shots and drop steps. And we got to the free-throw line a little bit.'
Jackson, who hit 3 of 4 shots from the field in the final quarter, played in just her second game after missing 20 because of a hip injury.
Wright made a layup and four free throws in the fourth to help the Storm pull away. She finished 8 of 8 on free throws.
``We needed a fourth quarter that could separate us,' Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said. ``But they went to Jackson and (Sue) Bird a little bit and Wright hurt us, all in the fourth quarter, which gave them the separation.'
Bird and Camille Little added 12 points each for Seattle (15-12), which moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Silver Stars for third place in the Western Conference. Seattle is just 1/2 game behind second-place Phoenix.
Sophia Young scored 14 and Jia Perkins 11 to lead San Antonio (13-13), which dropped its fourth straight and is just 1 1/2 games ahead of Los Angeles for the fourth and final playoff berth in the West.
Becky Hammon scored only four points for the Silver Stars, 12.8 below her average. She was 2 of 10 from the field, including 0 of 4 from 3-point range.
``Our team defense is amazing against her,' Wright said. ``We really focus in on her and make her give the ball up and let other people make plays. We get tons of help from our post players. They do a good job of forcing her to make the next pass and then recovering.'
Bird became the 16th WNBA player to reach 4,000 points.
``I joked that it just means that I've been playing for a long time,' said Bird, in her 10th year. ``I think looking back on my career it will be something that will be special. You're in an elite group when you think about people who have done that.'
Seattle used a 10-4 run at the start of the fourth quarter to open a 51-46 lead with 4:56 left. Perkins responded with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to two before Jackson hit an inside basket and Wright made two free throws to put the Storm up by six.
Ruth Riley and Perkins each scored four to help San Antonio to a 42-41 lead after three quarters.
Hammon, who had missed her first five shots, hit a 7-footer with 4 seconds left to put the Silver Stars up 28-26 at halftime, their first lead of the game. Young scored 10 in the first half to help San Antonio rally from a 10-0 deficit.
The Silver Stars shot 3 of 16 (18.8 percent) from the field in the first quarter but hit 8 of 19 in the second to outscore the Storm 19-10.
``I thought our team came in here ready to play,' Young said. ``It took us awhile to score, but once we did, we got into a rhythm. There were some tough baskets down the stretch that they were able to hit and we weren't able to convert ours.'
Wright scored six in the opening quarter to help give the Storm a 16-7 lead. Bird had four in the first quarter to reach 4,000 career points.
The Silver Stars have lost eight straight in Seattle since its last win in 2007.
The Associated Press News Service
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