Storm Rally Falls Short in NY, 65-57

July 9, 2013

Another terrific third quarter wasn’t enough to erase another tepid first quarter for the Seattle Storm.

Tina Thompson scored 13 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds on Tuesday night, and Seattle wiped out 18 points of a 19-deficit before finally coming up short of the New York Liberty, 66-57.

Tanisha Wright chipped in 12 points for the Storm (5-8). Noelle Quinn added 10, including a 3-pointer early in the third that started the rally as Seattle trimmed a 38-19 deficit to 40-39 before the Liberty (6-7) slowly but steadily regained command in the Prudential Center.

Plenette Pierson came off the bench to lead New York with 22 points, hitting 8 of 15 from the floor. Cappie Pondexter, who torched Seattle for 23 points in the Liberty’s 67-62 victory in KeyArena on June 28, added 13, but was forced into 5-of-19 shooting from the field and didn’t get onto the board until midway through the second quarter.

The Storm went 1-3 on their four-game, 13-day trip and now begin a friendlier stretch of the schedule that will see them play nine of their next 12 in KeyArena beginning on Sunday night at 6 against the league-leading Atlanta Dream.

But regardless of venue, the Storm will have to find a way out of their first-quarter doldrums. In all four games of the trip – at Indiana, Chicago, Washington, and New York – Seattle fell into an early double-digit hole before finding some rhythm and mounting a comeback.

On Tuesday, Thompson drained a 3-pointer on the opening possession, but New York rang up the next 11 points.

The margin was still eight at 15-7 after Thompson drove for a lay-up with 3:07 left in the quarter. The Liberty then closed the first on a 9-0 run, making it 24-7. The Storm, hitting just 3 of 14 (21 percent) were stuck on seven first-quarter points for the third game in a row.

New York never let the lead slip below 12 points for the rest of the half.

Then, as it did in last Tuesday’s 69-60 victory at Chicago and Saturday’s 62-59 loss at Washington, Seattle made a game of it coming out of halftime.

After rookie Toni Young hit a 10-footer from the left corner to open the third, pushing New York’s lead to 38-19, the Storm ran off 11 points in a row. It was started by Quinn’s trey and capped by a driving lay-in from Wright, all in a span of 1 minute, 54 seconds.

A putback by Pierson returned the margin to 10 points at 40-30. Seattle answered with nine points in a row, the last two of them coming on a lay-in by Alysha Clark to make it 40-39 with 2:58 left in the third. Those 20 points and nine field goals in just less than six minutes were more than the entire first-half output of 19 points and seven field goals.

But that was as close as the Storm came. The Liberty took a 49-43 lead into the final quarter, which Quinn immediately cut in half with a 3-pointer from the right corner. New York put the next seven points on the board, making it 56-46 and never led by less than six the rest of the way, as Seattle got off just 11 shots in the fourth quarter.

The Storm shot just 34 percent from the field (21 of 62). New York hit 40 percent (25 of 62). The Liberty also had a 38-31 advantage on the boards, led by Kara Braxton’s 11.

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