SEATTLE – A blank list on the video board revved up the crowd.
No Seattle Storm player was on the injury report shown at KeyArena. The entire roster, for the first time this year, was available.
The result was a blowout.
Sue Bird had 18 points and 10 assists, Lauren Jackson scored 16 points and the Storm snapped a three-game losing streak with an 84-66 whitewashing of the fatigued New York Liberty on Sunday night.
The Storm have fluctuated all season while navigating injuries and the absence of Jackson, who spent the first half of the year training for the London Olympics for Australia.
Sunday was her second game back, and she played a big role despite shooting 3-for-11 from the field.
With team’s so focused on Jackson, numerous options open up, such as Camille Little, who had 15 points and eight rebounds, and slashing space for rookie Shekinna Stricklen, who had 12 points.
“That’s when Sue’s at her best,” Seattle coach Brian Agler said. “(When) you put people around her that can do different things.”
The change – which led to Bird’s first double-double of the season and 20th of her career – was evident from the start. Stricklen’s layup on the break prompted New York coach John Whisenant to call a timeout with 5 minutes, 20 seconds left in the first quarter after the Storm opened on a 12-2 run.
Tina Thompson lofted in the exclamation point of the first quarter with a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
Seattle finished the first 10 minutes up 28-9, its biggest lead of the season following the opening quarter.
Bird’s midrange jumper at the end of the second gave the Storm its biggest lead of the half at 51-30, and its biggest halftime lead of the season.
Bird had eight assists in the half.
Seattle (11-13) has struggled to come up with offensive rebounds throughout the season – coming into the game averaging 6.35 offensive rebounds, last in the WNBA, and had 14 the past four games combined.
Agler made it a point of emphasis and the Storm had 13 against New York.
“As we get more practice under our belt, we’re going to get better,” Jackson said.