Storm get past Sparks in triple OT, 98-87

SEATTLE(AP) Sue Bird isn't shy about following the shooter's rule: If you're in a slump, just keep shooting.

Bird scored 23 points, including three 3-pointers in the third overtime, leading the Seattle Storm to a 98-87 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Wednesday night. Bird led a 13-0 run by Seattle in the third OT and helped the Storm (11-6) win their third straight game.

"If you miss your first 10 (shots), then you have to think you're going to make your next 10,'' said Bird, who hit 8 of 20 for the game, with 7 of 14 from behind the 3-point arc. "The only way out of it is to shoot your way out of it, especially if you're getting good looks -- and I was getting some.''

Tina Thompson led Los Angeles (4-9) with 22 points. Betty Lennox had her second consecutive double-double for the Sparks, scoring 19 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Candace Parker also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Storm played most of the second overtime and all of the third OT without Lauren Jackson, who was ejected with two technical fouls in her first game back since straining her left Achilles' tendon a week ago. Jackson was ejected with 2:51 left in the second extra session after scuffling with DeLisha Milton-Jones under the Seattle basket. Jackson scored 18 points.

After Thompson's 3-pointer gave Los Angeles an 85-82 lead to open the third overtime, Bird drained a 3 from the left of the lane, tying it at 85.

Swin Cash, who had 16 points, then drove for a lay-in, putting Seattle ahead for good with 2:57 left.

Bird buried another 3 from the left side with 2:13 remaining. Camille Little hit two free throws, and Bird's last 3-pointer made it 95-85 in the final minute.

"She missed that one shot at the top of the key, airballed it (with 9 seconds left in regulation and the score 67-67), and all of her teammates said, `You're going to get another shot. You've got to keep taking shots,' " Storm coach Brian Agler said of Bird's performance. "She did. Then all of a sudden, it was sort of like adrenaline kicked in.''

Added Bird, "A lot of times when you miss shots, for me especially, I know it's in my head more than anything else. Mentally, I just wanted to stay focused and knock them in.''

Little's driving scoop shot tied it for Seattle at 75 with 21 seconds left in the first OT. The Sparks weren't able to get off a shot before the buzzer.

Bird also came up big in the final minute of the second overtime, hitting a 22-foot 3 from the left side to tie it at 82 with 53.4 seconds on the clock. Neither team was able to score the rest of the way, bringing on the third OT.

"It was a matter of us having mental breakdowns,'' said the Sparks' Milton-Jones, who finished with 15 points. "It was about us executing on both ends of the floor, and in the crucial moments, we weren't doing that. And that' been the thorn in our side for a lot of the losses we've had this year.''

Bird moved into third place on the WNBA assists list. Her pass to Jackson for a 3-pointer gave Bird 1,339 for her career, moving her past former New York Liberty star Teresa Weatherspoon.

Bird now is within 60 assists from catching teammate Shannon Johnson for the No. 2 spot. Johnson has 1,398. Sacramento's Ticha Penicheiro tops the list with 2,064.

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