SEATTLE – The San Antonio Stars suffered a narrow 79-78 loss to the Seattle Storm in front of 9,868 fans at KeyArena on Friday night.
The result may been another game in the loss column for San Antonio, but it continues to show their growth as a team throughout the season. Earlier in the campaign, the Stars suffered an 18-point defeat at KeyArena and on Friday they had a chance to win.
“What we’re doing is building a foundation for next year,” Stars coach Vickie Johnson said. “It doesn’t matter, tomorrow’s not promised. 85 percent of our league goes overseas. You may get injured. Who knows? We have to finish the game the right way.”
The game was close all night long and was tense in the final minutes. San Antonio center Isabelle Harrison converted on a lay up with 48.5 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 76. Seattle took a three point lead on free throws with seconds left, giving the Stars one final chance.
Kelsey Plum hit what looked to be a game-tying three-pointer as time expired. However, upon official review, Plum’s shot was ruled a two-pointer.
“There wasn’t a play call,” Plum said of the final shot. “It was just get down there and get a good look. I got a pretty good look, tried to shoot a three, but it was a two.”
Dearica Hamby posted her first double-double of the season, scoring 19 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Kayla McBride added 18 points, including 16 in the final quarter. Plum added 15 points on 50 percent shooting, four rebounds and four assists.
“I think most people forget she actually just had a baby less than six months ago,” Johnson said of Hamby. “I think that she’s getting back to game shape, and game rhythm. She’s just been very aggressive, been the leader that I expect her to be.”
The Storm were led by Breanna Stewart’s game-high 22 points. Jewell Loyd added 18 points and Sue Bird returned from injury to chip in 14 for Seattle (13-16), who won their third straight game.
Seattle outscored San Antonio 27-21 in the final ten minutes, including a 20-5 run to seal their win.
“I think we forced some turnovers, [Sue] Bird got a breakaway, and we got a couple of easy buckets off that,” Seattle interim coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “And it seemed like that energized us back up and got us back within range. And then we came down executed and hit a couple threes, and all of the sudden it’s a two point game.”
- Game notes: Dearica Hamby matched her career-high with 19 points as she posted her first double-double of the season. Isabelle Harrison had her fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Up next: The Stars are now 7-23 on the season and will return to the court on Tuesday when they travel to Los Angeles to face the Sparks at 9:30 p.m. to close out their west coast trip.