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Bird and Loyd ignite Storm past Shock

The Seattle Storm were able to finally win a close game, as they were able to defeat the streaking Tulsa Shock. Sue Bird led the Storm with 17 points.

Photo by Amy Ridgeway

Seattle, WA -- The Seattle Storm defeated the Tulsa Shock 74-69 Tuesday night in Seattle. Despite missing their first six shots and committing two turnovers and two fouls in the opening moments, Seattle's biggest challenge early on was the exemplary offensive performance from Riquna Williams.

The fourth-year pro, who started her first game of the season in place of the injured Skylar Diggins, wasted no time demonstrating why she holds the WNBA single-game scoring record. In the first three minutes of the game, Williams scored nine points by nailing two threes and drawing a foul on a third attempt from behind the arc.

With 6:37 to go in the quarter, Plenette Pierson hit a three of her own to put Tulsa up 12-0. This forced Storm coach Jenny Boucek to call timeout and sub in rookies Jewell Loyd and Ramu Tokashiki.The lineup change immediately paid off as Loyd and Tokashiki provided an instant spark that ignited a run that saw Seattle score on its next five possessions.

The Storm continued their intense, fast-paced play in the second quarter, tying the game at 32 with 4:01 to play in the half. The rest of the period, however, belonged to the Shock as they outscored the Storm 8-0 the rest of the way to take a 40-32 lead into the half.

Tulsa would stay in front until the 4:24 mark of the third period when Sue Bird hit a fadeaway jumper off an assist from Loyd to put the Storm in front 46-45.

While Tulsa would keep the outcome in doubt until the final 15 seconds, Seattle never again trailed in the game. Managing to successfully close out their opponent. Something that they had been unable to do in their three previous contests.

"These last four games we've just been in it all the way to the last possession," said Storm coach Jenny Boucek after the win. "How we get there has been a little bit different but we have not known in the fourth quarter how to function as a unit. I am proud of our team and the progress that they are continuing to make."

Bird, who sat out Sunday's loss to the Shock, was pleased to finally secure a victory after three straight losses by four points or less.

"It really was a matter of having to do it and we did it," Bird stated. "Now we can build on that."

Seattle had five players reach double figures led by the 17 from Bird. Crystal Langhorne added 15; Loyd finished with 13, Tokashiki with 12 and Jenna O'Hea added 10.

Tulsa was led by the game high 23 from Williams and also received 13 points from rookie Brianna Keissel in the losing effort.

With the win, Seattle snapped Tulsa's franchise record eight-game winning streak and also secured their third win of the young season.