SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird showed just how comfortable she’s getting with her new teammates.
Bird scored 27 points and Camille Little added 19 points and nine rebounds to lead the Storm to their first win of the season, 76-58 over the Tulsa Shock on Friday night.
Bird hit 5 of 7 3-pointers for Seattle (1-3) after she had made just 5 of 17 in the first three games of the season. Bird and Little had seven points each as the Storm outscored Tulsa 21-11 in the third quarter to break open a close game.
“I think being comfortable helps and we’re getting more and more comfortable with each other,” said Bird, who has five new teammates this season because of trades, draft picks and free agent signings. “You’re able just to go out there and play and not have to think so much.”
Seattle increased its lead to 57-46 after three quarters as the Shock made only 2 of 17 from the field in the quarter.
“I thought we battled that first half, but we just stalled out offensively in the third quarter,” Shock coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “You can’t do that against a team like the Storm because they have so many weapons.”
Jennifer Lacy scored 12 points and fellow reserve Riquna Williams had 11 to lead Tulsa (0-5), which has lost 11 straight dating to last season when it finished 3-31.
Seattle avoided matching its worst start since its inaugural 2000 season.
Little had seven points and Bird added five during a 12-3 run midway through the third quarter to give the Storm a 48-42 lead after trailing 39-36.
Bird scored 15 points, including three 3s, to help the Storm to a 36-35 halftime lead. She hit a 30-footer just before the buzzer to end the first quarter.
“That’s Sue to me, I expect her to play well every night and when she doesn’t I’m surprised,” Little said about Bird snapping out of her two-game shooting slump.
Williams scored eight points in the first half for Tulsa, including five in the final 33 seconds. But the Shock went cold in the second half. They finished 17 of 60 (28.3 percent) from the field.
“We were hoping to get our first win tonight and it didn’t go that way,” Lacy said. “We just didn’t shoot well from the floor and that’s the result. When you shoot 28 percent it’s hard to win.”
Seattle shot 22 of 28 on free throws. Williams hit 10 of 12, including all six of her attempts in the first half.
The Storm played without three-time league MVP Lauren Jackson as she prepares with Australia for the upcoming Olympics.
Seattle coach Brian Agler notched his 212th career win to give him the most in women’s professional basketball, surpassing Van Chancellor of the Houston Comets. Agler has won 140 WNBA games and won 72 in the old ABL.
“When we started back in 1996 you never knew how long these things would go,” Agler said. “Van Chancellor had a tremendous career with Houston. All of those wins with one team, four championships. That being said, and he would say the same thing, you’ve got to have great players.”
Agler named off a bunch of his players, including Bird, who bounced back with a season high after scoring 15, five and seven in her first three games.
“It’s nice to see Sue really break out,” Agler said.
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