Gabby Williams scores 23; Bird seals New York finale with late three as Seattle wins 81-72

Bird scores 11 including game-clinching three with 20.6 seconds to play as Storm concludes road trip with 4-1 record

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Gabby Williams poured in a season-high 23 points, but it was Sue Birdwho put the exclamation point on her final regular-season game in her hometown, hitting a three-pointer as the shot clock expired with 20 seconds left as the Seattle Storm defeated the New York Liberty 81-72 on Sunday afternoon at Barclays Center.

Bird put the icing on the cake of her final appearance in New York by hitting a three-pointer from the top of the arc, standing and willing it to go down after it bounced a few times off the rim. It was the third three-pointer of the game for Bird, who grew up in Syosset, just 30 miles east of Barclays Center.

Williams nearly stole the show, scoring a season-high 23 points in the game on 10-of-15 shooting, adding nine rebounds and three assists. It was the most points scored by Williams since scoring a career-high 26 points in her seventh career WNBA game on June 8, 2018, while with Chicago. Breanna Stewart added 18 points and nine rebounds while Ezi Magbegor added 10 points and five rebounds to go along with two blocks.

The game was another close one on a road trip which featured numerous close games. This one featured only six ties and five lead changes, but after Seattle took an early seven-point lead, the game remained within a handful of points for much of the rest of the contest.

Seattle led by one at 73-72 with under 2:30 to play, Williams hit a tough running layup to put the Storm up three. She would then ice the game with a clutch three from the wing as the shot clock wound down to make it a 78-72 game with 53.7 seconds left.

After a defensive stop and a jump ball recovered by the Storm, Seattle milked the clock with Williams passing up a wide open three to keep the ball rotating around the perimeter. It ended up in the hands of Bird with the shot clock winding down and the WNBA’s all-time assist leader took the shot herself, hitting what is likely her final shot as a professional in New York.

Seattle started off the game strong, leading 20-11 with 1:48 to go in the first quarter. The Liberty would close to within three at the end of the period only to see the Storm balloon the lead back to nine midway through. New York stuck close to Seattle through and trailed by just two at halftime.

Seattle opened the second half with back-to-back three-pointers from Jewell Loyd and Bird, but the Liberty again stayed close, briefly taking back the lead at 50-49 with four minutes to go in the third. Down three a few minutes later, Williams cut it to one with 1:18 on the clock and Briann January hit a pair of free throws to give Seattle back the lead with :28.6 left. But after Seattle forced a shot clock violation, Magbagor drove nearly the entire length of the court and hit a layup as time expired to put Seattle on top 55-52 heading to the fourth.

In the final period, neither team held a lead of more than four until the Storm’s late rally at the end put the game out of reach. Stewart scored seven of her 18 points in the final period as the Storm shot 11-of-19 (57.9%) to pu the game away.

Wrapping up the road trip with a 4-1 record, the Storm heads home to face the Washington Mystics on Thursday, June 23, at 7pm inside Climate Pledge Arena. The game features a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and will be broadcast on FOX 13+, CBS Sports Network, and streamed on Amazon Prime (Wash only).