SEATTLE – Different game. Different venue. Same old Sue Bird.
Same result for the Seattle Storm, too.
Bird made a tiebreaking jumper from the foul line with 2.6 seconds left and the Storm beat the Atlanta Dream 79-77 in Game 1 of the WNBA finals on Sunday.
Angel McCoughtry had a last-second try for the Dream, but her long 3-pointer from the left side bounced off the far side of the rim at the buzzer.
The best-of-five series resumes Tuesday night in Seattle.
Bird also hit a key shot in the Western Conference finals, making a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left to give the Storm a 91-88 victory in the clinching game last Sunday at Phoenix.
"I was able to get a real good look, and it was a pull-up, which is what I like, and swish," Bird said Sunday. "It's just something that, situations like this, I was put into at a very early age. At this point in my career, it's something I enjoy. Those situations are fun — especially when they go in."
WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson had 26 points and eight rebounds for Seattle. Bird finished with 14 points, and Camille Little had 18 points and 11 rebounds as the Storm remained unbeaten in 20 home games this season.
McCoughtry and Iziane Castro Marques had 19 points apiece for Atlanta. Sancho Lyttle added 10 points and 14 rebounds.
McCoughtry wound up with three stitches in her forehead after a hard collision with Seattle's Jana Vesela with 8:59 to play. While she returned to the game, McCoughtry was ill afterward and unavailable for interviews. Dream trainer Kim Moseley said McCoughtry did not have a concussion and, barring any headaches, was expected to participate in practice Monday.
McCoughtry, who came in averaging 28 points in four playoff games, had a rough day all around. She picked up three first-quarter fouls, sat out the entire second quarter and wound up shooting just 6 of 17 in 21½ minutes.
"She has to do a better job of not getting into foul trouble and still staying aggressive," Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said. "If we can keep her in the game on Tuesday, she'll have a better chance of getting into some type of rhythm."
On a day when the Seattle Seahawks opened their NFL season in front of more than 60,000 fans at Qwest Field just a few miles to the south, an announced crowd of 15,084 filled the lower bowl and a good portion of the upper balcony at KeyArena.
Jackson made a 3-pointer late in the third to give Seattle the lead for good at 52-49 and the Storm carried a six-point advantage into the final period. After shooting just 2 of 7 in the first half, Jackson went 5 of 8 in the third, scoring 14 points.
"We talked at halftime about how we wanted to go through her and play through her," Storm coach Brian Agler said. "Even if she doesn't score, we wanted her handling the ball."
Atlanta trailed by nine in the fourth before tying it at 77 on Castro Marques' three-point play with a minute left.
After each team traded missed chances, the stage was set for Bird's last-second shot.
"We had to make a good defensive play in that situation," Castro Marques said. "It was just a good play (by Seattle) with two good shooters, and it's hard to defend that."
The Storm went on a 20-4 run in the first quarter to take a 22-9 lead, hitting nine of their first 13 shots while the Dream hit just four of their first 15.
But Atlanta started playing better toward the end of the first quarter and carried it over to the second. A 21-6 surge capped with a steal and driving lay-in by Coco Miller gave the Dream a 30-28 lead with 3:42 left in the half.
Castro Marques made a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to tie it at 39.
"Everyone just wanted to pull together," Jackson said. "At halftime, we knew we could play better basketball. We'd gotten away from some of the things that got us here."
Each team had to deal with foul trouble for one of its star players. Besides Atlanta's McCoughtry, Seattle forward Swin Cash picked up two fouls in the first minute of the game and was whistled for her third with 6:10 left in the first quarter. She wound up playing just 8½ minutes in the first half.