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Bird leads Storm to 69-56 win over Monarchs

Jul 18, 2009 - 5:21 AM SACRAMENTO, Calif.(AP) -- Sue Bird had 20 points and six assists to lead the short-handed Seattle Storm to a 69-56 victory over the Sacramento Monarchs on Friday night.

Tanisha Wright had 12 points and seven rebounds and Swin Cash added 10 points and six rebounds for the Storm (9-6), who were without leading scorer Lauren Jackson. The All-Star forward is out indefinitely after straining her left Achilles' tendon in a loss to Detroit on Wednesday.

Nicole Powell had 13 points and Crystal Kelly added 12 for the Monarchs (3-12), who are 0-2 since general manager John Whisenant fired Jenny Boucek as coach and replaced her with himself.

The Storm outrebounded the Monarchs 37-18 and held the team to 32.7 percent shooting from the floor. Bird scored 10 of the Storm's last 14 points, including two 3-pointers.

"I hit one and (the basket) kind of got bigger and bigger," said Bird, who made four 3-pointers. "Tonight, there was certain situations when the ball was in my hands, late with the shot clock, and I just tried to make a play. Luckily they went in."

The game was tied at 44 after three quarters, but the Stormed opened the fourth with a 16-2 run and never looked back. Bird made the difference.

"We are just going to put the ball in her hands late in the game," Storm head coach Brian Agler said of Bird. "She did a great job tonight and finished that thing out strong."

The Storm were 10 for 15 from the field in the fourth quarter while the Monarchs shot 3 for 12 from the floor.

Forward Rebekkah Brunson, who had eight rebounds in the Phoenix Mercury loss on Wednesday, was in uniform for the Monarchs, but sat out the game with a strained right knee.

"We struggle with the rebounds when (Rebekkah) is not in there," said Courtney Paris who started her first WNBA game and finished with 10 points rebounds. "For me, I take responsibility in that. That's what I'm here to do."

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