Bird scores 21 of 23 in second half as Storm prevail

SEATTLE -- Seattle Storm fans chanted "M-V-P, M-V-P" as Sue Bird went to the free-throw line late in the game.

"It's definitely flattering," Bird said of the chants after scoring 21 of her 23 points in the second half to rally the Storm from 13 points down to a 96-88 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Saturday night. "I know the fans here always support the team."

Seattle (21-10), which secured its fifth straight playoff berth two nights earlier, set a franchise record for wins and moved one-half game ahead of idle San Antonio atop the Western Conference.

Five Seattle players scored in double figures as the Storm topped their previous win total set in 2004 and matched in 2005. Tanisha Wright and Swin Cash scored 17 points each as Seattle improved its league-best home record to 15-1. Camille Little added 16 points and Yolanda Griffith had 11.

"I was really concerned at halftime," Seattle coach Brian Agler said. "I just didn't think we had enough juice tonight. But they responded and created some things off of defense. But hats off to Minnesota, they're a tremendous offensive team."

Seimone Augustus had 26 points to lead Minnesota (14-16). Anna DeForge scored 17 points and Lindsey Harding had 11 points and 10 assists for the Lynx, who dropped into a tie with Houston and defending champion Phoenix for fifth place in the Westtwo games behind fourth-place Sacramento.

"It was a well-fought game," Minnesota coach Don Zierden said. "Unfortunately, [the Storm] did a better job of shooting the ball in the second half, and that was the difference. ... We didn't do a good job of defending in the second half."

Seattle trailed by 13 points early in the third quarter before outscoring the Lynx 22-9 to tie the score at 57.

"We can't keep putting ourselves in these holes," Bird said. "Runs are going to happen. It's just inevitable that we're going to go on a run and whoever we're playing is going to go on a run, and it's kind of how many runs you go on and when they happen. We keep coming up with timely runs and if we can keep doing that we'll be all right."

Little had eight points to lead the comeback. Bird scored Seattle's final six points of the third to give the Storm a 68-66 lead.

Anna DeForge had 13 points in the first half to help Minnesota to a 46-35 halftime lead. The Lynx led by as many as 12 in the opening half. DeForge shot 5-for-5 from the field in the half, including three 3-pointers.

Bird missed all four of her shots from the field in the opening half. She had one assist.

"I couldn't even get good looks," Bird said. "They were doing a good job of trapping. I just wanted to stay aggressive and finally I got a little jumper to drop."

Agler credited Bird's improved play in the second half in turning the game around for Seattle.

"You saw how our team played in the first half compared to how the team and she played in the second half," Agler said. "I can't say enough about her."

Seattle's Sheryl Swoopes was knocked unconscious after she took an elbow to head with 1:10 left in the game. She was taken from the floor by stretcher as medical staff stabilized her head and body in braces as a precaution.

"She was unconscious on the floor, and then she did come to and recognized the people who were out there," Agler said. "She had feeling and she was moving her hands and moving her feet. ... She went to the hospital so were just going to check on her. I hate to say anything but things looked positive before she left."