Next for Seattle Storm: WNBA playoffs
MIKE ALLENDE; Contributing writer
It was appropriate that it happened against the Los Angeles Sparks.
With home-court advantage through the WNBA playoffs long secured, all that was left for the Seattle Storm to chase in the regular season was history, and it was the 2001 Sparks who stood as the team that all others are measured against.
Or were measured against, at least.
Now, you can add the 2010 Storm to that list.
Led by Camille Little’s career-high 22 points and Lauren Jackson’s 21 points, Seattle defeated Los Angeles, 76-75, on Saturday night in front of 9,686 fans at Key Arena, wrapping up one of the best regular seasons in WNBA history.
With the win, the Storm finished 28-6, tying the league record for wins in the regular season set by the 2001 champion Sparks (who played 32 games). It also gave Seattle a 17-0 home record, surpassing the 16-0 mark of the 2001 Sparks for best in league history.
“It speaks loudly of our fans and the energy they bring us,” guard Sue Bird said of the home record. “Whether we’re losing a close game or it’s a blow out, they’re in every possession, they’re in every play and it keeps us energized.
“No other team likes to play here. … The record is icing on the cake.”
Seattle will turn its attention to the playoffs.
The opponent? Likely the Sparks (13-21).
Unless San Antonio loses today and Minnesota wins, Los Angeles will be the fourth seed and will meet Seattle at 8 p.m. Wednesday at KeyArena in a playoff opener.
“If we play them in the playoffs, I’m glad we played them right now because we got a feel for what they’re about,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “Hopefully it will make a difference for us.”
The Storm lost a 12-point fourth quarter lead with 8:49 to play as the Sparks used a 15-2 run to turn a 72-60 deficit into a 75-74 advantage after Tina Thompson buried a 3-pointer from the left wing with 1:48 to play.
Bird, who had nine assists and no turnovers, controlled a jump ball near the Seattle basket and passed to Tanisha Wright as the shot clock was running out. Wright made a running jump shot for a one-point Storm lead with 50 seconds to go.
Wright said she was surprised Bird passed her the ball because of the shot clock.
“The angle was tough but I just took one step,” Wright said. “I had a good look at it. If you make it, you make it. If you don’t, you don’t.”
“It was a big play by her,” Bird said of Wright.
After the teams traded possessions, Los Angeles inbounded with six seconds to go but Marie Ferdinand-Harris’ 3-point attempt with a second left was off.