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.
In dealing with under-18 students and/or student athletes, it’s inevitable that an adult will get back talk from a kid at some point. Of course it’s natural for the adult to want to put a kid in their place. After all, they know better. They’ve had more education, experience, and can see so plainly all the wrongs that the kid cannot.
Some new teachers or coaches might have go-arounds with young people at first, arguing and trying to talk sense into them. Eventually, most come to a realization: I don’t need to waste my time going back and forth with a child. It drags me down to their level, as if I don’t know any better, like them.
It’s the same dynamic we see with the online bullies who go out of their way to insult women’s basketball, female athletes and women.
They pop up at opportune moments to throw out degrading comments about women’s basketball and its style; the women who play it and how they look; the crowd size for men’s basketball compared to women’s basketball. And as with everyone who finds themselves with a lot of “keyboard courage,” the bullies don’t hold back. The insults are usually ugly and personal.
I see some of the most intelligent women react to these fools on social media. They give them their best counter-put downs. They make obvious points, which of course fall on deaf ears and spawn more insults. Some women will highlight a bullying tweet to supposedly expose the idiocy of the tweeter, but all that does is give the bully more attention, and thus more incentive to do it again.
It’s important for women to remember that there’s no point in arguing with a child, or with someone who has a childish and immature viewpoint. They are wrong – and some might even know they’re wrong – but nothing said to them will stop them. Sometimes kids say and do things to be bratty and rebellious, and the same is true with some adults.
The reasons undoubtedly vary. There are those who need attention, those who feel threatened by strong women, those who are misogynists, and those who just like to get a rise out of people. The reasons don’t matter. What’s important to remember is that just because someone fires a shot doesn’t mean it’s always the right thing to shoot back. In our hyper-reactive world, most seem to have forgotten that ignoring is one of the most powerful tools on the planet.
Arguing or responding to a social media bully is already letting them know they’ve won. They succeeded in getting someone’s attention and getting under someone’s skin; of course they’ll continue to argue, and will escalate the insulting language. But it takes two to tango, so if someone tries to tango with me that way, I just give them the figurative Candace Parker blank stare and go back to what I was doing.
As the saying goes, I ain’t got time for that.
If someone attacks me directly, I will respond. But throwing around general insults? Responding to that costs me minutes I’ll never get back. Ignoring it will likely douse the flame.
Los Angeles – The Los Angeles Sparks used a second-half push to burst past the surging Connecticut Sun, 87-77, Thursday and stop a two-game losing skid.
Nneka Ogwumike scored a season-high 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Los Angeles, while Candace Parker had 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Chelsea Gray had 17 points and Riquna Williams 10 for the defending champions, who halted Connecticut’s five-game winning streak.
The Sun got out to a blistering start on 58 percent shooting in the first quarter, and they led the Sparks, 32-18 at the end of the period. The host then outscored the visitors, 51-25 over the next two quarters to take a 69-57 lead into the final stanza.
Jonquel Jones, who fronted Connecticut’s effort with 20 points, scored 11 in the fourth quarter to spearhead a comeback that saw the young team hold Los Angeles to 37.5 percent shooting. But though they outscored them in the period, 20-18, it wasn’t enough.
Jasmine Thomas scored 14 points for the Sun, while Alex Bentley added 11 and Courtney Williams, 10.
Sparks coach Brian Agler credited Connecticut, and cited his team’s lack of defense in the first period.
“Our defense started getting better there in the second quarter,” he said. “We had a lot of people who are good on-ball defenders. They have good We were happy that after the first quarter they didn’t get a lot of threes to go down because they are an excellent three-point shooting team. And we are really happy about how we eliminated their second chance point opportunities, they didn’t get many offensive boards.”
Connecticut coach Curt Miller said playing the second of back-to-back games effected his team.
“We played really well in the first quarter and showed that we were ready, but we ran out of a bit of gas,” Miller said. “Credit to them – they’re a championship team and they broke us down. We had some missed assignments and then our shots stopped falling, and that put us in transition defense a lot, so we just couldn’t get our half-court defense set when we weren’t making shots in those middle quarters.”
The 13-5 Sparks are now 1.5 games behind the league-leading Minnesota Lynx, and 1.5 games ahead of third place Phoenix. The Sun, now 11-8, drop to fourth in the standings after beginning the season in the bottom quarter of the league with a four-game losing streak. They still lead the Eastern Conference.