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Storm-Silver Stars Preview

Sep 12, 2009 - 5:35 AM By KATE HEDLIN STATS Writer

Seattle (19-14) at San Antonio (15-18), 8:00 p.m. EDT

Now that they've clinched the Western Conference's final playoff spot, the San Antonio Silver Stars look to take advantage of a home game against the injury-depleted Seattle Storm on Saturday night to end the regular season with momentum.

The Silver Stars (15-18) secured the Western Conference's final playoff spot after Minnesota lost at Los Angeles on Friday. Although the Lynx still have to play Sunday, San Antonio owns the tiebreaker between the two.

San Antonio comes in having won three straight at home and four of five overall, including an 80-71 victory at Sacramento on Thursday. Becky Hammon scored 27 points while Ann Wauters added 16. Hammon hit seven of the Silver Stars' 11 3-pointers while the Monarchs went 0 for 6 beyond the arc.

"I tried to be aggressive," Hammon said, "and sometimes being aggressive gets me in trouble. Overall, we picked them apart pretty well."

Hammon, who averages 19.5 points, had been held to a combined 23 in the previous two games.

While Hammon and the Silver Stars have averaged 84.2 points in their last five games, the Storm (19-14) are allowing only 73.4 per game. Hammon realized Thursday the challenge San Antonio's offense faces against Seattle.

"We have to get home and let our legs rest up a little bit," she said. "These guys work so hard defensively, you use up a lot of energy against them."

The Storm, though, have dropped three in a row, including a 92-84 overtime loss to Phoenix on Thursday. It was the third-most points they have given up this year.

Seattle was in position for the win after Tanisha Wright's basket gave her team a 77-75 lead with 18 seconds left in regulation. The Mercury, however, tied the game with seven seconds left and controlled the extra period.

Wright scored five of her 24 points in overtime, but it wasn't enough for a Seattle team without All-Stars Lauren Jackson (back), Sue Bird (neck) and Swin Cash.

Bird, who earlier in the day agreed to a multiyear contract extension instead of becoming a free agent after this season, also missed the Storm's previous game. It seems Seattle might try to rest her with little on the line Saturday, having already clinched the second seed in the West.

Cash also is expected to sit out, while Jackson is unlikely to return because of a stress fracture in her back.

Coach Brian Agler was pleased with how everyone stepped up Thursday.

"We had absolutely nothing to play for other than pride," he said. "We had all sorts of reasons why we shouldn't do this or shouldn't do that. But we were a team tonight that instead of looking for reasons not to do things, we were looking for reasons to do things."

The Storm have won two of three against the Silver Stars this year, but extended their losing streak in San Antonio to six games with a loss last month.

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