Vicente Cardenas/The Paisano
Photo Credit: Vicente Cardenas/The Paisano
Both the San Antonio Silver Stars and Seattle Storm have had injury problems all season. But only one team has found a winning formula without their superstars.
The Storm defeated the Silver Stars 91 – 86 on Friday, June 21 in the AT&T Center. The Silver Stars have now reached a four-game losing streak with this loss.
“Give Seattle credit they made some shots,” said Stars Head Coach Dan Hughes. “They moved the ball well and they had five people in double figures. So give them credit for that.”
Storm guard Sue Bird (knee) and Storm forward Lauren Jackson (hamstring) both needed season ending surgeries, which played a role in the team starting the season off 1- 3. However, the emergence of forward Camille Little and forward Tina Thompson turned Seattle’s season around. Little scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Thompson scored 21 points in the victory over the Stars.
“I think we disappointed ourselves in the start, and we didn’t play to the best of our abilities,” said Storm forward Little. “We knew we were better than that and so we’ve just focused as a group so we can play better on both ends of the floor. We’ve been doing that and we’re going to try to continue doing that.”
The Stars struggled to score and protect the basketball early in the game, perhaps because Coach Hughes changed the starting lineup. Silver Stars center Jayne Appel suffered a concussion during practice and her backup, Danielle Adams, filled in, and guard Shenise Johnson started in place of Shameka Christon. San Antonio committed four turnovers in the early minutes of the first quarter, which allowed the Storm to race out to an early 8-0 lead that was capped off with a coach Hughes technical foul. The Storm led 14 – 4 in the first quarter while the Stars struggled from the field shooting a dismal 4 – 14.
“I thought that offensively we came out a little sluggish. Then we evolved offensively and got into a better rhythm,” said Coach Hughes. “Defensively I thought we never had a foothold in the game like we wanted to play. Offensively I thought we grew and had opportunities to score.”
When Christon returned to the lineup, the Stars went on a 9 – 4 scoring streak. Before half time, Stars’ guard Jia Perkins went on her own 9 – 0 scoring run, making two 3-pointers and two jump shots to bring the Stars to within 2-points of the Storms’ 39 – 37 lead at half time.
“They were shooting the ball well,’ said Storms Head Coach Brian Agler. “I thought we were better defensively, but even with us making play on them, they hit some good shots.”
In the second half, Christon continued the Stars’ second quarter hot shooting by making her fourth 3-pointer of the game. Chiston’s basket gave the Stars the first lead of the game at 42 – 40. However, the Storm would regain the lead heading in the fourth.
In the fourth, with 21.5 seconds left in regulation, Christon stole the basketball with the Storm leading 88 – 84, and she lost the ball out of bounds heading towards the Storms basket. The refs didn’t call a clear-path foul, and Hughes went ballistic on the sideline, screaming at the refs to review the play. The refs didn’t. And Seattle regained possession sealing the victory from the free throw-line after the Stars were forced to foul the Storm.
“I’ll have to look at the one play at the side,” Coach Hughes said. “I thought we had created a clear-path foul.”
The Stars look to snap their four-game losing streak on Sunday when they play the New York Liberty in Madison Square Garden.