For the second consecutive game, the Seattle Storm saw a game they controlled throughout slip through their fingers as the San Antonio Stars defeated Seattle 73-71 in the closing moments Saturday in Texas.
The Storm, fresh off a disheartening loss to the Lynx Thursday, made a lineup change inserting rookie Ramu Tokashiki into the starting lineup. It was the Japanese forwards first career start, and she did not disappoint.
Attacking the rim and hitting the outside jumper, Tokashiki, who finished with 14 points and four rebounds was instrumental in keeping Seattle out in front of the Stars. Every time the Stars made runs early in the game; it was Tokashiki who answered either on a breakaway layup or a mid-range jumper.
"Tokashiki is a great player especially in transition," said Crystal Langhorne. "She can run the floor, she can shoot the ball, so having her out there we flow really easily."
Tokashiki was not alone in providing much-needed offense as Langhorne added a team-high 18 points on eight for nine shooting, and nine rebounds herself for Seattle.
"Langhorne has that ability to really be a force down low and to give us, whether it is points, rebounds, on any given night," said Storm star Sue Bird, who finished with an impressive 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
"She can easily get double-doubles, so tonight that was going, and she did a great job."
Despite the exemplary play from Tokashiki, Langhorne and Bird, it would be Kayla McBride who stole the 4th quarter and the game for San Antonio.
McBride scored 12 of her game-high 23 points in the final period, leading the Stars all the way back from an eight-point deficit at the start of the quarter. McBride scored the go-ahead basket on a running hook shot as she was falling towards the court with only 22.7 seconds to play.
"She's 23 years old and we lean on her like she's 32," said Stars head coach Dan Hughes. "There's a reason for that. The girl just got a presence."
Adding to the Stars assault was the performances of Jia Perkins (11 points, six rebounds), Danielle Adams (11 points, five rebounds) and Danielle Robinson ( eight points, seven assists). All nine Stars players who saw action scored at least two points.
The Storm played 11 players with eight of them recording at least a field goal.
Seattle and San Antonio now both stand at 2-6 on the season.