THIRD QUARTER: Storm used a 12-3 run midway through the third quarter to pull ahead 41-33 with 3:34 remaining after a Atkinson FT. Seattle held on to lead 43-39. Johnson was the leader in the quarter with seven points while Walker had four boards.
OPENING HALF: The shooting is amazingly even, but the Storm is hitting the boards, again, outrebounding the Silver Stars 24-15 in the first half. Seattle also has nine steals, forcing 11 turnovers. They’ve committed 11, though. Batkovic-Brown is the leader with 11 points while Snell has the same for the Silver Stars. Shanna Crossley has 10 for San Antonio. Little has eight boards for the Storm.
FITZ OUT: Batkovic-Brown definitely needs this timeout. She could have put the Storm back up with a shot under the hoop, but instead tried to pass the ball out to PeeWee. The toss was off target, rolling into the backcourt as time expired. Seattle goes into the half down 27-26.
AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE: Actually both Aussies are playing well as Snell leads her team with 11 points, too. Her three-pointer with 3:04 remaining before halftime tied the score again at 24 points apiece. Batkovic-Brown is getting ready to go back in, hope she’s ready.
BATGIRL REST: Bird mouthed “She’s tired!” and pointed to Batkovic-Brown, who finally got a breather after helping the Storm tie the score at 21. The Aussie has 11 points and is getting fanned with a jersey by Bird while dipping her head back on the bench in exhaustion. But Batkovic-Brown will be called on, again, she is Seattle’s offense. Seattle up 24-21 with 4:27 remaining in the second quarter.
KISS OFF: San Antonio still does the “Kiss Cam.” Press row can’t stand it. Glad I’m not the only one. Score tied at 17 points apiece after a BatGirl coast-to-coast. P.S. Instead of kissing, Spurs-Silver Stars might want to invest in TriCaster camera so that people could actually see this team play!
COVER UP: C Suzy Batkovic-Brown screamed at rookie F Ashley Walker about switching on perimeter coverage, which twice resulted in three-point shots for Silver Stars F Belinda Snell. Once, however, Batkovic-Brown was at fault. Breaking lose the scoring clog, San Antonio leads 13-6 with 1:49 remaining in the opening quarter. Seattle called time and Walker is out of the game.
SLOW START: Storm attacking and up 3-2, but with 6:29 remaining in the opening quarter, it’s a slow start. Seattle has forced three fouls and three turnovers, but shooting 1-of-7 from the field.
Doubt San Antonio presents Vickie Johnson with a pair of silver kicks to honor her contribution to the game, but this is Johnson’s regular-season finale after 13 seasons in the WNBA. Make that the WNBA’s shadow, but she doesn’t mind, advancing to the WNBA FInals with her former New York Liberty and hoping to for a second straight trip with San Antonio this season.
Johnson was confident the Silver Stars would clinch a berth despite starting the season so rocky. She knew the team was returning C Ann Wauters and had time to catch the then-hit Minnesota. Well, the Lynx’s loss to Los Angeles on Friday sealed her prediction. San Antonio will face the No. 1 seed Phoenix on Thursday in the opening round of the postseason.
The No. 2 seed Storm will play LA in a rematch of last season when the Sparks knocked the Storm out of the playoffs in three games.
Because everything is set, nearly all the stars have been pulled from the lineup, aside from Johnson and Wauters on San Antonio’s side. PG Becky Hammon and F Sophia Young aren’t dressing. The Storm is again without PG Sue Bird (neck), PF Lauren Jackson (back), SF Swin Cash (funeral), and reserve F Katie Gearlds (knee). But also missing is G Tanisha Wright due to Achilles tendonitis, signee La’Tangela Atkinson will start in her place. Atkinson made a good impression in her re-debut on Thursday.
Seattle hasn’t won in San Antonio in four years, dropping seven consecutive games. After the overtime Phoenix loss on Thursday, I won’t count the Storm out, but it’ll be rough.
Let’s get to it. Here are your starting lineups:
F Ashley Robinson
F Janell Burse
C Camille Little
G Shannon Johnson
G La’Tangela Atkinson
F Vickie Johnson
F Erin Perperoglou
C Ann Wauters
G Edwige Lawson-Wade
G Shanna Crossley
Tonight’s officials are Maj Forsberg, Tom Mauer, and Eric Brewton.