SAN ANTONIO (AP) - With the playoffs set to begin in less than two weeks, the Seattle Storm look ready to defend their championship.
Sue Bird scored 15 points, Swin Cash had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and the Storm beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 70-60 on Saturday night. Lauren Jackson added 13 points as Seattle (19-13) won for the sixth time in seven games and took four of five in the season series against San Antonio.
The Storm lead Phoenix by one game for second place in the Western Conference, and home-court advantage in the firsst round.
``We're in a situation where there are a couple of games left, we're trying to get second place and we can really control our own destiny by getting wins,' Bird said. ``So we just wanted to do whatever we had to do to get a win, and everybody did that tonight. It felt really, really good.'
Sophia Young scored 22 points and Becky Hammon had 14 for the Silver Stars (15-16), who lead Los Angeles by two games for the fourth and final playoff spot in the West. San Antonio also fell three games behind Phoenix, which beat the Sparks later Saturday.
``I thought (Sue) Bird and (Lauren) Jackson were Bird and Jackson,' Silver Stars coach Hughes said. ``They have a very formidable team. They're back in a rhythm that reminded me of what I saw of them last year.'
After the Silver Stars cut a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to seven, Cash banked in a 3-pointer and Seattle never looked back.
Cash topped 4,000 career points, reaching the mark when Bird found her for a layup with 8:23 left in the third quarter.
The Storm outrebounded San Antonio 40-21 and shot 14 for 26 in the second half.
``The last game we played them, they beat us on the boards,' Cash said, ``so we really wanted to make sure we got to the glass defensively and give them only one shot - and offensively to give ourselves second chances.'
Seattle has beaten San Antonio 10 of the last 11 times the teams have met. Jackson didn't play the lone time the Silver Stars won.
Storm coach Brian Agler had considered holding out Jackson, who missed time earlier this season after having hip surgery, but the coach deferred to the three-time MVP.
``She wanted to play,' Agler. ``She knows her body better than anybody. We didn't play her big minutes or long stretches, but she wanted to play and be a part of it, so we let her do that.'
San Antonio's standout rookies Danielle Robinson and Danielle Adams both struggled. Robinson was 1 for 10 and Adams 0 of 7.
The Storm committed eight turnovers in the third quarter but hit 7 of 12 shots from the field and outrebounded the Silver Stars 11-3. Seattle took its biggest lead, 47-40, on Katie Smith's layup with two minutes left. Smith stole the ball, passed it to Tanisha Wright, who found Smith downcourt for the score.
Leading 47-44 after three quarters, Seattle went on a 15-4 run to start the fourth quarter, with Bird leading the way with seven points and an assist during the spurt.
Seattle, up 30-29 at halftime, used an 11-2 second-quarter run to turn a seven-point deficit into a two-point lead. Le'coe Willingham began the run with a jumper and Cash later capped it with five straight points after having gone scoreless up to that point. Cash had seven first-half rebounds, as Seattle held a 21-14 rebounding advantage at halftime.
The Silver Stars led Seattle 16-13 after the first quarter, holding Seattle to 6-of-18 shooting. San Antonio took its biggest lead at 16-11 on Young's free throw.
Cash missed all five of her shots in the quarter. Bird led all scorers with seven points, hitting 3 of 4 shots. Her only miss came when she forced up a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock.
The Associated Press News Service
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