SEATTLE (AP) — Sue Bird scored 21 points and Tanisha Wright added 12 points and eight assists as the Seattle Storm beat Minnesota 65-62 on Sunday night, handing the defending champion Lynx their first loss of the season.
Tina Thompson added 10 points for the Storm (3-7), including two game-clinching free throws with 1 second remaining. Thompson also grabbed two key rebounds in the final 5 seconds, including an offensive board with 1.9 to go after Bird missed two free throws.
“I just tapped it a little bit trying to get it to myself,” Thompson said about her offensive rebound. “It’s one of those things. Although I was trying to get it, a little luck of it bouncing my way helped, too.”
Bird, who entered the game shooting 93 percent (13 of 14) from the line, certainly appreciated Thompson’s rebound.
“I said thank you immediately,” Bird said. “That was huge. That sealed the game for us. When she got the rebound, I definitely exhaled.”
Maya Moore scored 14 points and Seimone Augustus added 12 for the Lynx (10-1), who had set the record for the longest unbeaten start in WNBA history.
The Lynx rallied from a 17-point deficit in the second quarter to pull to 63-62 on Moore’s two free throws with 1:05 to go. However neither team scored until Thompson’s last second free throws.
Augustus missed a 16-foot baseline shot with 4.4 seconds left and Moore’s 3-point attempt from 28 feet brushed the net as time expired.
“I felt like it was on target, just a little short,” Moore said. “With 1 second, having to inbound it and catch and shoot, I thought it was a great look.
“But it shouldn’t have come down to that. We felt like there were so many missed opportunities . .giving up an offensive rebound on a free throw. I mean there were so many things in the entire game that could’ve changed things.”
Seattle coach Brian Agler said Thompson’s clutch plays down the stretch demonstrated her all-around game.
“Obviously, she’s the all-time leading scorer in the league,” Agler said. “But she’s one of the great competitors in the league. You saw two of the rebounds she came down with in the guts of the game. The one on the free throw was huge. She just outworked people.”
Thompson, the only player to have appeared in every WNBA season since the league’s inception in 1997, also had a rebound after Augustus’ miss with 4.4 seconds left.
Bird finished 5 for 7 on 3-pointers. She scored 13 points and Wright had 10 to help Seattle to a 43-29 halftime lead. Thompson hit a 21-footer to give the Storm a 17-point lead midway through the second quarter to cap a 13-3 run.
The Storm shot 57 percent (17 of 30) from the field in the first half, while the Lynx were at 36 percent (11 of 31). Augustus scored 10 points in the second half after hitting only 1 of 7 shots from the field in the opening half.
“I thought Seattle played really hard and was far more determined than we were to win the game,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, who received a technical foul in the second quarter. “We didn’t show up until the second half and that was a bit disappointing.”
Seattle’s other two wins this season were against Tulsa, which got its first win earlier Sunday.
Minnesota beat the Storm 84-71 on May 27 and 79-55 on June 6.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)