SEATTLE (AP) - When the Seattle Storm need a big shot, Sue Bird comes through.
Bird hit a 3-pointer on a 22-foot jumper with 0.4 seconds left to give the Seattle Storm a 81-79 win over the Connecticut Sun on Friday night.
``She's extremely clutch,' Storm coach Brian Agler said. ``We try to give her the ball in those situations and she has come through numerous times. I've been around clutch players so I can't tell you she's necessarily better, but she's come through more than anybody I've been around.'
Bird, who finished with 20 points, received an inbound pass from Katie Smith and hit the 3 from the top of the arc as defending champion Seattle (12-8) moved into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference.
``They cheated the screens a little bit and I was able to bounce back the other way and get an open look and just was able to knock it down,' Bird said. ``I held my followthrough a little longer to kind of squeeze that one in there. Sometimes you know, sometimes you're not sure.'
Connecticut coach Mike Thibault watched his team rally from an 18-point to lead, but then saw Bird end it.
``That's a great shot Sue made at the end,' Thibault said. ``She got open with an illegal screen, but it was a heck of a shot. I thought it was going to be short when it left her hand, but sure enough, she's made enough big ones in her life. That's why she's one of the best in the world.'
Tanisha Wright added 18 points, Swin Cash had 14 and Camille Little 13 for the Storm, who won three in a row for the first time this season.
Tina Charles hit a 7-footer on a putback with 3.1 seconds left to put the Sun up 79-78 before Seattle called timeout to set up the winning shot.
``We had to come back from a lot and made that run and we were playing better in the second half,' Charles said. ``It's just a heartbreaker. That's Sue for you.'
Renee Montgomery scored 19 points, Charles had 18 and Asjha Jones 12 to lead Connecticut (12-7), which had won six of seven.
Seattle shot 12 of 19 on 3-pointers. Bird hit 4 of 7 from long range and Cash made 3 of 6.
Smith hit a 3 and Cash scored twice inside as Seattle used a 10-2 run at the start of the fourth quarter to go ahead 73-59 after the Sun had taken a one-point lead late in the third.
Charles scored six points during a 16-2 run in the third quarter as the Sun rallied from 13 down to take their first lead of the game 56-55 on Jones' jumper.
Seattle responded with two free throws by Little and back-to-back 3s by Cash to lead 63-57 heading to the fourth.
Montgomery scored eight to start Connecticut's 15-4 run to close out the first half that cut an 18-point deficit to 47-40.
``We get down often,' Montgomery said. ``It's bad, but we get down so often I don't think it was really a worry. We knew we just had to get some stops and the shots would start to fall.'
Wright scored nine to help the Storm build a 43-25 lead midway through the second quarter.
Seattle shot 8 of 12 on 3s in the first half. Bird made three 3's, including two in the first quarter when she had 10 points to help give the Storm a 24-14 lead.
But it was Bird's 3 at the end that created the memorable moment.
``I've seen her make that shot a number of times,' Cash said. ``In Sue Bird we trust. She's proven herself over and over again. When she puts that shot up, it's going in.'
The Associated Press News Service
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