Storm rally falls short, lose to NY Liberty

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LOS ANGELES - JUNE 28: Marie Ferdinand-Harris #24 of the Los Angeles Sparks guards as Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm drives the ball during the game on June 28, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)


SEATTLE – After trimming a 17-point deficit to just three late in the fourth quarter, the Seattle Storm wasn’t able to complete the comeback, falling 86-78 to the New York Liberty on Sunday at KeyArena.

Veteran forward Alysha Clark scored a career-high 23 points on 7-of-7 shooting for the Storm, which drops to 3-5 on the season with Sunday’s defeat. Seattle forward Breanna Stewart set the franchise’s rookie record for rebounds in a game with 17, while Sue Bird recorded a double-double with 13 points and a season-high 10 assists. New York was paced by forward Tina Charles and guard Sugar Rodgers, who scored 19 and 18 points, respectively.

The teams played a very even opening half, as there were nine lead changes and neither club had more than a five-point advantage. Clark, who returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench Friday due to a right knee bruise, was 5-for-5 in the first half to lead Seattle with 14 points. Ramu Tokashiki added 10 first-half points off the bench on her way to a season-high 15, while Charles finished the half with 13 points after missing her first three shot attempts.

Coming off a career-high 32 points against Phoenix, Storm guard Jewell Loyd took just two shots in the first half and even had a rare miss at the free throw line. Loyd and Stewart, who went to the bench with her third foul early in the second quarter, combined for just five points in the first half and 11 in the game.

New York held a 46-45 edge at the break, then proceeded to go on an 11-2 run early in the third quarter behind two baskets apiece from Swin Cash and Sugar Rodgers. The Liberty continued to dominate the period and opened up a 17-point lead, outscoring Seattle 26-13 in the third.

Trailing by 14 to start the fourth quarter, the Storm used a 13-2 spurt midway through the period to cut its deficit to five behind seven of Clark’s game-high 23 points. New York’s lead was just three with 3:45 remaining after another Clark jumper, but Rodgers made four free throws down the stretch to help the Liberty hold on.

The Storm shot just 5-of-22 from three-point range on Sunday, and New York dominated the glass by outrebounding Seattle 40-31. Former Storm players Cash and Tanisha Wright finished with six and eight points, respectively, for the Liberty (4-3).

Following Sunday’s defeat, the Storm will embark on a four-game road trip, starting Friday at Connecticut. Seattle’s next home game is June 19 against Minnesota.

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