16-0 Run Sends Storm Past Fever
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SEATTLE (AP) -- Anne Donovan can only hope Sue Bird plays this well for the United States team in Beijing.
With the U.S. Olympic coach looking on, Bird had 17 points, five assists, five rebounds and three steals to lead Seattle's fourth-quarter surge for a 78-70 victory over the Indiana Fever on Friday night.
Bird sparked Seattle's impressive rally after Indiana appeared to take control late in the third quarter behind Tamika Catchings.
But Bird scored the first five points of the quarter for the Storm, as Seattle ran off 18 of the first 20 points in the fourth -- including 16 straight -- and snapped a three-game losing streak.
Bird started the spurt with a driving three-point play to pull even at 59-all. She then knocked the ball free from Indiana's LaToya Bond, starting a fastbreak that finished with Tanisha Wright's driving layup that gave Seattle a 61-59 lead.
Bird then found Lauren Jackson popping out for a wide-open 3-pointer to push the lead to five. Wright added two more baskets during the run, and quickly, Seattle's lead was pushed to 13.
Indiana went scoreless for more than 5 minutes and had eight of its 22 turnovers in the fourth quarter. Tully Bevilaqua hit two 3-pointers in the final 2 minutes to pull Indiana within four, but Sheryl Swoopes hit a 12-footer with 46 seconds left to push the lead back to six.
Jackson, the reigning league MVP, led Seattle with 18 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Swoopes added 13 points and Wright had 12 off the bench.
Tammy Sutton-Brown led Indiana with 14 points, as the Fever gained a spark in the third quarter from Catchings, who didn't play in the first half as she continues to recover from a right Achilles' tendon tear last season. But the Fever couldn't carry that momentum into the final 10 minutes.
Indiana outscored Seattle 20-8 in the third quarter after Catchings entered, as the Fever outscored the Storm 22-12 in the quarter. Catchings made a brilliant one-handed pass while falling down to Sutton-Brown for an easy basket to get the Fever within one, then pulled Indiana even for the first time at 52-all with a 3-pointer.
LaToya Bond added a 3-pointer moments later -- after getting her shot swatted by Swoopes -- giving the Fever their first lead.
After a brief break to ride the exercise bike sitting courtside, Catchings returned and scored Indiana's first points of the fourth on a jumper with 8 minutes left, before Seattle took control.
Catchings finished with six points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes.