Seattle 66 at San Antonio 90

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Silver Stars silence Storm 90-66
Friday, Sep 14, 2012

SAN ANTONIO (AP)—Becky Hammon scored 25 points and the San Antonio Silver Stars beat the Seattle Storm 90-66 on Friday night.

Sophia Young added 19 points, Shameka Christon 13 and Danielle Robinson 10 for San Antonio (19-11).

Tina Thompson and Ann Wauters each had 12 points and Svetlana Abrosimova added 11 for Seattle (13-17). Sue Bird (hip flexor) and Lauren Jackson (strained hamstring) both missed the game with injuries.

The Silver Stars had a season-high 15 steals and outscored Seattle 16-0 on fastbreak points.

“That’s what has been missing in that little skid that we had—our defensive presence, our activity level and energy level,” Hammon said. “I feel like now we are starting to find our groove again. We’re starting to play the way we want to play. It all starts on the defensive end.”

Hammon went 5 for 7 on 3-pointers after going a combined 5 for 21 from long distance in her previous four games.

San Antonio, which had lost three straight at home, had a steal on five of the Storm’s first seven possessions. The steals only resulted in a 4-2 lead off layups by Hammon and Christon, but a needed defensive tone was established.

“We wanted to get more aggressive in the passing lanes,” Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said. “We wanted to pressure the ball. We wanted to play to a situation where the turnover feature was more a package than we were playing to. We felt like we were settling a lot to just play position defense and I think we are at our best when we dictate defensively.”

Robinson’s 15-foot jumper gave San Antonio a 15-11 lead, but Seattle closed the final four minutes of the first on a 14-5 run. Thompson and Tanisha Wright each made a 3-pointer during the run for a 25-20 lead after the first.

Hammon scored three straight baskets to cut Seattle’s lead to 27-26 with 6 minutes left in the first half. Christon’s 3-pointer a minute later gave the Silver Stars a 29-27 lead, their first since 15-13.

Christon and Hammon hit consecutive 3-pointers to give San Antonio a 37-31 lead, but Seattle responded with a short jumper by Wauters and a 3-pointer by Shekinna Stricklen.

“They shot the ball well from 3, especially Becky and Christon,” Seattle coach Brian Agler said. “They got some second opportunities. They scored off turnovers. They got to the free throw line. They scored 50, almost 60 points in those three areas.”

Holding a 38-36 lead at the half, the Silver Stars increased the edge to double digits in the third quarter.

Hammon’s 3-pointer capped an 8-0 run by San Antonio to open the third, prompting a timeout by Agler. Katie Smith hit a 3-pointer out of the timeout to cut the lead to 46-39, but the Silver Stars’ lead grew to as many as 12 points in the quarter.

“We just started really bad with the first four minutes, but then we came back,” Abrosimova said. “The game is a game of runs, (but) our runs were not as good as theirs.”

Young scored 13 points in the third quarter, going 4 for 4 from the field and 5 for 5 on free throws.

Hammon hit her fifth 3-pointer for an 86-63 lead with 2 minutes left after San Antonio had a rebound on successive 3-point misses by Christon and Hammon.

San Antonio went 6 for 20 in the final quarter, but maintained its lead by outrebounding Seattle 22-13 in the second half and forcing 10 turnovers.

Silver Stars reserve Shenice Johnson scored all nine of her points in the second half and finished with six rebounds and two steals.

“(Coach Hughes) just told me to clear my mind, play your game,” Johnson said. “He told me that he has been watching me my whole career and that he has not been satisfied with the way I have been playing since the break. He ripped me to shreds to be honest with you, but tonight I felt like I responded.”

Updated Friday, Sep 14, 2012

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