SEATTLE – Seattle Storm coach Brian Agler called a timeout with 6:17 left in the first quarter to discuss the dysfunction that led to an early 7-2 lead for the visiting Washington Mystics.
He didn’t pick up a dry-erase board to diagram the next play. Instead, he told his team to get it in gear.
The Storm did.
A 13-2 Seattle run ensued, helping the Storm to a lead it would not give back during a 72-55 win over the Washington Mystics on Sunday. It was Seattle’s fourth consecutive victory after a 1-7 start to the season.
Ann Wauters hit a jumper, Camille Little drove and scored, and Sue Bird hit a 3-pointer during the run. The blitz continued when Tina Thompson scored in the lane and rookie Shekinna Stricklen hit a jumper. Washington stopped the onslaught with a jumper from Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton.
Wauters scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Bird scored 14, along with five assists and four rebounds for the Storm (5-7).
“It was more about competing harder and being more aggressive offensively and not making it so easy for them offensively,” Agler said. “I think we responded pretty good.”
Washington did not. The Mystics’ 20 points were the fewest Seattle allowed in a half this season. Washington scored just nine points in the second period, shooting 4 for 19 from the field. Washington tried several deep jump shots with little time remaining on the shot clock.
“I felt like we were mentally fatigued,” Washington (2-8) coach Trudi Lacey said. “When our shots didn’t fall, it took the wind out of our defense.”
Washington’s Crystal Langhorne led all scorers with 21 points.
Seattle never trailed again after Bird hit a free throw to put the Storm up 10-9 with 4:35 remaining in the first quarter.
“I think we’re playing better, but I think there is still more to go,” Bird said. “We still kind of have some lapses here and there.”