SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird and La'Coe Willingham hit key fourth-quarter 3-pointers Tuesday as the Seattle Storm extended their winning streak to 10 by rallying to defeat the San Antonio Silver Stars 80-74.
Seattle (19-2) is off to the second-best start in WNBA history. The now-defunct Houston Comets opened the 1998 season 19-1 and were 25-2 before their third loss.
The Silver Stars (7-13) led by 10 with 3:14 left in the third quarter, but Seattle closed the gap to 57-55 by the end of the period. Down by 3 with 8:24 left, the Storm went on a 14-4 run highlighted by two 3-pointers from Jackson, who led all scorers with 21 points.
"We don't really get panicked," said Jackson, who had 12 points after halftime. "Everyone just sort of rallies and does their own thing, and we manage to pull it out."
The Storm have not lost to a Western Conference team this season, but their past three victories — over Phoenix, Minnesota and San Antonio — have been by a total of 12 points.
"All of a sudden, because we have the best record in the league, people expect us to win by 20 every game," said Bird, who finished with 20 points. "I've experienced that actually in college (at Connecticut). It's not something we expect. We know this league is way too good."
Improved defense was a key for Seattle down the stretch. The Silver Stars hit only eight of their final 18 shots and committed five turnovers after securing their biggest lead.
"We didn't fight enough in the end, or we didn't have enough spark or heart of something to push it through to the end," said Sophia Young, who scored 12 of her team-high 18 points for San Antonio in the first half. "Our turnovers caused them to get a lot of transition buckets. We kept doing it over and over."
The victory completed a 4-0 season sweep for Seattle over San Antonio, which has lost six in a row to the Storm.
The Silver Stars stretched a one-point halftime lead into a 56-46 edge midway through the third period. Michelle Snow scored six of her 16 points in the 15-6 San Antonio run.
Bird scored five straight points for Seattle to cut the deficit in half, and Swin Cash's 3-pointer with 50.5 seconds left in the period narrowed the Silver Stars' lead to 2 entering the fourth quarter.
Willingham's 3-pointer with 7:19 left, her only field goal in the game, gave Seattle the lead for good at 65-64.