SEATTLE (AP) — After forcing two extra periods with late 3-pointers, the Seattle Storm knew they had the momentum.
Sue Bird scored 22 points, including two 3-pointers in the second overtime, and the Storm beat the Minnesota Lynx 86-79 in two overtimes Sunday night, forcing a deciding Game 3 in their Western Conference semifinal series.
Lauren Jackson hit a 3 for Seattle with 1.1 seconds left in regulation and Tanisha Wright’s 3 with 23.9 seconds to go in the first overtime sent it to another extra period.
Tina Thompson then opened the second overtime with a 3 that put the Storm ahead for good, 78-75. After Lindsay Whalen had a jumper for the Lynx, Bird hit a 3 that stretched Seattle’s lead to four points with 2:24 left, and then made another with 42 seconds remaining to seal the win.
“At that point, I think we felt that we were doing the things we needed to do to win the game,” Bird said. “We had a pretty good scheme on defense that seemed to be working. The times we were struggling offensively, we weren’t on the same page. In the second overtime, we kind of narrowed it down to two or three things, and to be honest, we ran the hell out of them. We’re a better team when we’re like that.”
Jackson’s tying shot at the end of the fourth quarter was set up when Taj McWilliams-Franklin made 1 of 2 two free throws with 11 seconds to go that put Minnesota up 70-67.
“The looks that we wanted to get was Sue, and if that wasn’t going to be there, then Lauren,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “Fortunately for us, Sue made a good read, and Lauren didn’t hesitate on the shot.”
Jackson, who shot 4 for 17, was scoreless on 0-for-6 shooting in the first half and had all nine of her points in the third and fourth quarters. She fouled out with 40 seconds to go in the first overtime.
Game 3 is tonight in Minneapolis, with the winner advancing to face Los Angeles in the conference finals.