Seattle, WA -- In what was the final game of Sophia-Young Malcolm's career, the San Antonio Stars traveled to Seattle to battle the Storm Sunday, for the right to have the best odds of winning the number one pick in the 2016 draft. The only catch, the LOSING team would win the best odds to land the coveted #1 selection The Stars were able to scratch out a 59-58 victory to give them their lone road win of 2015.
Both teams would sit key players giving their benches a chance to show what they were capable of. The results in the first half were far from pretty. The two teams would shoot well below average as the Storm hit 13-35 for 37.1% which was still greatly better than the 29.7% from the Stars.
To sum up how unusual the first half was, 5' 4" Angel Goodrich was the second leading rebounder in the half with four and 5'9" Samantha Logic led all players with two blocks.
The only bright spots came in the form of Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who led all first-half scorers netting 11 of her 19 in the first 20 minutes. At the half, Seattle led 34-27.
The strangeness continued into the 3rd as Jewell Loyd and Crystal Langhorne were benched for the remainder of the game. As a result of the increasingly shrinking rotation, by the 1:07 mark of the third quarter multiple Storm players had set new career highs, Mosqueda-Lewis with points, and Goodrich and Hollingsworth with rebounds.
"I think a couple of us that haven’t played all season got a chance to play a lot of minutes these last two games," Commented Mosqueda-Lewis after the game. 'We just tried to take advantage of that. Luckily we were able to find a flow and some continuity."
The shooting percentages did not improve, however, as San Antonio slipped to just 28.8%, and the Storm fell to 36.5% overall.
Entering the final quarter of the season, the Storm would lead 46-43.
In the 4th, the records would continue to fall as Goodrich recorded her first double-double and a new career high for minutes. Markeisha Gatling would set her career high with 12 rebounds and set a new personal best for minutes played, while Hollingsworth and Mosqueda-Lewis would both set new bests for minutes played.
"We enjoy playing with each other," stated Goodrich of the groups performance. "It’s fun and every time we’re on the court together, it’s run, run, run. That’s where we get our chemistry from is just playing together."
In the final seconds, the Stars, who led 59-58, would miss a contested shot. Mosqueda-Lewis, while attempting to gain control of the crucial rebound, sprained her ankle ending her season with just12seconds to play. Seattle gained possession and the chance to win with 7.7 seconds left.
Alysha Clark would sub in for the injured Mosqueda-Lewis and would get a shot at a contested layup to win that missed. Gatling would be blocked on the rebound, and the Stars escaped with a 59-58 victory to secure their only road win of 2015.
"We hadn't had a road win so I feel good for them," said Star head coach Dan Hughes "We tried to work on a couple things late even though we were out of the playoffs. I was glad to see our players concentrate on some of those things."
While the victory slightly decreases the odds of the Stars winning the number one pick, it did give Sophia Young-Malcom a fitting send off.
"It was a chance for us to celebrate as a team with her one last time." Hughes commented. Not a lot of athletes end their last game with a win. She's meant a lot. Coming to us over 10 years ago and growing with us. I'm glad they could have this moment to celebrate with her."
"What I'd most like to be remembered for is I was positive," said Young-Malcom of her career. "I showed up and I encouraged my team to do their best."
Dearica Hamby led the Stars with 15 points in the victory. Valeriane Ayayi grabbed a career high eight rebounds and Young-Malcom scored nine points and pulled down four rebounds in her final contest.
Seattle was led in the scoring column by Mosqueda-Lewis who finished with a new career high of 19 in a career high 32 minutes. Goodrich had quite possibly her best game as a pro finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals while playing every second of the game. Gatling and Hollingworth each finished with new career highs of 12 rebounds in 32 minutes.
The draft lottery will be held on September 24th.