The Seattle Storm returned to action Sunday, losing to the defending champion Phoenix Mercury 84-72 in Seattle.
The Storm, fresh off a four-day layoff that allowed for some much need practice time played their best basketball of the season. Behind the all-star tandem of Sue Bird and Crystal Langhorne, the Storm managed to earn a 21-19 lead after the first period of play.
The duo would run their pick-and-roll offense to perfection for the entire night. Bird finished with 11 points and eight assists while Langhorne contributed a team high 13 points, to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks.
"I think (Langhorne) and I together on pick-and-rolls is probably something that other teams have to plan for," said Bird after the loss. "Obviously she is a great scorer, but it is really her ability to catch it on the move, keep her composure, make moves and finish. We were able to get that going tonight and we hopefully continue to do that."
The Storm had less success after the first period as they managed to connect on only one of their 13 attempts from three point range and would be outscored by 14 over the final three quarters.
Seattle's biggest challenge came in the form of an offensive explosion from DeWanna Bonner. After scoring only three points in the first period, Bonner would exude intensity, scoring 20 points in the remaining three quarters to finish with a game-high 23 points in addition to eight rebounds.
"We needed this win," Bonner stated when asked what motivated her performance. "It was important for us to get this win, it is our first road win, so we need to build that confidence."
Despite the loss the Storm showed vast improvement over previous outings, managing to connect on 28 of their 60 attempts compared to Phoenix who finished shooting 27-65.
The Storm also out rebounded the much taller and longer Mercury 37-32. Seattle forward Alysha Clark finished with a game-high nine rebounds to go along with her season-high tying 11 points.
Also of note was the interior defense of Abby Bishop who finished with a career-high four blocks to go along with five rebounds and four points in the losing effort.
Seattle next plays at home against Minnesota on Thursday
Phoenix next plays at San Antonio on Thursday