SEATTLE – The Seattle Storm bolted to an early lead and didn’t stop until the final horn sounded, beating the Atlanta Dream 86-73 Saturday at KeyArena.
Storm point guard Sue Bird picked Atlanta’s defense apart for a season-high 12 assists. Forwards Alysha Clark and Ramu Tokashiki each had a career-high 14 points.
All-Star Angel McCoughtry led Atlanta with 16 points.
Seattle forced Atlanta into three turnovers while shooting 5 for 6 from the field to build a quick double-digit advantage.
The Storm led 27-16 at the end of the quarter and took a 48-33 lead into the break.
The Storm shot a season-high 59.4 percent from the field in the first half.
Forward Crystal Langhorne led with 10 points and seven rebounds. Seattle (5-12) shot 56.9 percent overall.
For the second straight year, KeyArena sold out the matchup against Atlanta, billing it as “Native American Heritage Night” in honor of Dream guard Shoni Schimmel. Seattle also has a native player in Angel Goodrich, who was signed in June.
Schimmel, a 5-foot-9 guard, was raised on a reservation in Mission, Oregon.
Atlanta coach Michael Cooper told Schimmel she needs to get in shape to garner more minutes.
That was evident as Schimmel struggled in a reserve role. The biggest cheer was when Schimmel finally hit a 3-pointer with 3:59 left in the game and Seattle up 80-65.
In Atlanta’s 20-point loss to Seattle last year, Schimmel had 14 points and six assists in 37 minutes of play. She had eight points and three assists in 21 minutes on Saturday.
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