Seattle – Crystal Langhorne didn’t miss a shot against Atlanta on Saturday evening.
She didn’t on Wednesday against Connecticut, either.
In fact, the tenth-year forward out of Maryland has gone 18-for-18 from the field since missing a third quarter jumper against Los Angeles a week ago.
While the 30-year-old said she’s trying not to think about her streak, her season-high 20 points on nine-for-nine shooting, along with eight rebounds, helped propel Seattle to a 90-84 win over Atlanta at KeyArena.
“Sometimes the ball just goes in,” she said. “It always balances out so, we’ll see how it goes. … People focus on our other teammates, so I just try to be aggressive when I get the ball and I’m open.”
Breanna Stewart led all scorers with 24 points — her sixth consecutive 20-plus-point performance — as all five Seattle starters finished in double-figures, while Tiffany Hayes had 19 to lead Atlanta.
Seattle (9-10) started the game 7-of-10 from the field, and took a six-point lead by the first timeout of the night. The Storm stretched that to as many at 12 before an 8-0 Atlanta run over the final minute-plus of the first quarter.
The Dream (8-10) were held to just two points over the first five minutes of the second as Seattle took its largest lead of the game at 13, but again, Atlanta clawed back to cut its deficit to two by the break.
After trading basket in the early moments of the third, the Dream pulled ahead by seven before a lay-up by Langhorne, five points on back-to-back baskets by Sami Whitcomb, and a steal and lay-in by Stewart capped a 9-2 run to tie the game at 65.
Atlanta held a five-point edge with under seven minutes to play, but Seattle outscored the Dream 22-10 to the finish, going 8-of-9 from the field in the final quarter after missing their first three attempts.
“It’s just the little things every time, whether we miss a box out or forget a defensive scheme,” Hayes said of the loss. “That’s something that we have to work on as a team – staying focused down the stretch.”
Atlanta head coach Michael Cooper said consistency late is what’s keeping the team from pulling out late victories.
“We have lapses on defense in the fourth quarter and when we (do that), we allow teams to score,” he said. “Then we’ll go down and miss a layup or turn the ball over. Good, consistent teams don’t lose that way.”
And though the Seattle offense was efficient late, Storm guard Sue Bird said it was her team’s defense and rebounding that made it possible.
“Generally speaking, we thrive off of our offense, and when our defense and our rebounding match that, good things happen,” said Bird, who finished with 12 points and seven assists. “I think tonight, yeah, we went on that run, and so people are going to look at the points and the shots, but I think it started more on defense.”
“We were able to get some stops, and then we were able to run, get some easy looks, get them scrambling, and then it just accentuates our offense, makes it even better.”
It does help when one player is perfect from the field, with head coach Jenny Boucek saying that her success is a “pretty good barometer of how efficiently we’re running our offense.” Boucek praised the forward’s adjustment since her arrival to become more of a role player than ever before in her career.
“Lang came to our franchise through a trade as a go-to player, and had been a go-to player her whole life, and over the years, she has now accepted more of a role on this team,” Boucek said.
“We don’t call many plays for Lang, so different from what she’s grown up with, and for to have the character to accept that, it just warms my heart that she’s getting some reward now from humbling herself and playing whatever role we need her to play, and now it’s coming back around to her, and I just think that’s beautiful, and it says a lot about Lang and her character.”
Seattle will finish its pre-All-Star slate against Chicago on Tuesday night, while Atlanta returns home to play San Antonio in an 11:30 a.m. start that day.
- With the win, Seattle tied the season-series at a game apiece. Atlanta won the first matchup on June 13 in overtime, 91-86. The two sides meet again in Atlanta on Aug. 23.
- With a third-quarter basket, Layshia Clarendon passed the 1,000-career-point mark for her career. She finished with 14 on the night.
- Alexis Peterson made her first appearance for the Storm in six games, and went 0-for-4 from the field with four rebounds in nearly 12 minutes of play.
- Lanay Montgomery and Noelle Quinn did not play for Seattle, Aneika Morello was out for Atlanta.
- Spotted: Former Sonics great Sam Perkins sat courtside, and shared a hug with Dream coach Michael Cooper before the game.
- Attendance: 6,993