Storm avoids 0-4 start, down Mystics 73-65

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sue Bird wouldn’t let the Seattle Storm start the season 0-4.

The veteran point guard scored 16 points and the Storm avoided their second 0-4 start in franchise history with a 73-65 victory over the Washington Mystics on Saturday night.

Bird sank a 3-pointer with 1:30 remaining to give the Storm (1-3) a 67-60 lead after Washington pulled within four points using a 7-0 run. Camille Little had 15 points and Tanisha Wright added 14.

Seattle outscored Washington 29-19 in the third quarter and shot 56 percent in the second half. The Storm made 5 of 10 on their 3-point attempts in the second half, including Bird’s clutch basket.

“We’re up (64-53). Then they got a lot of offensive rebounds, some stick backs, some shots go in and, yeah, as a team we’re thinking we need to make a play,” said Bird, who like the rest of the team struggled from the field during the opening three losses. “It just so happened (that) the ball was in my hands and I hit a shot.”

Crystal Langhorne, who spent her first six seasons with Washington before a draft day trade sent her to Seattle, had 14 rebounds.

Traded for forward Tianna Hawkins and first round pick Bria Hartley, Langhorne beamed after the victory.

“It’s great to win. Of course I want to more against my old team, but we were looking for our first win,” Langhorne said. Every night we’re going to fight hard.”

Emma Meesseman scored 12 points for the Mystics (1-2), who fell to 0-2 at home this season.

Washington committed 12 of its 16 turnovers in the first half, but still entered halftime with a 26-24 lead.

“The first half was really ugly both ways,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said. “The second half stayed ugly for us other than a few minutes, and I thought that the more desperate team body language-wise won the game.”

The Storm used three 3’s during a 13-2 run during the third quarter to take the lead for good.

Bird finished 5 of 14 from the field and is only 13 of 39 (33.3 percent) on the season including 4 of 12 from beyond the arc.

“That’s the Sue that we know right there,” Seattle coach Brian Agler said. “We’ve seen that multiple times (over the years). It’s almost surprising when you don’t see it.”

It’s also surprising to see Seattle struggling. The Storm, winners of two WNBA titles, lost four straight to open their inaugural 2000 season en route to a league-worst 6-26 record.

Both teams played on the road Friday night. Washington won by 16 points against the Indiana Fever while Seattle fell 71-59 at the Connecticut Sun.

“We’re coming off a win. They’re coming off (three) losses,” Thibault continued. “They came out and played with a little more desperation. I think their veteran leaders were good. They shot the ball much better in the second half.”

Kara Lawson scored 11 for the Mystics.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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