Gabby Williams scored a season-high 23 points in Seattle’s 81-72 win over the New York Liberty on Sunday in what was Storm guard Sue Bird’s final regular-season game in her hometown.
Bird, the league’s all-time assists leader, announced Thursday that she would retire at the end of the 2022 season. She grew up in Long Island, about an hour from Barclays Center.
Bird sealed the game with a 3-pointer as the shot clock ran down with 18.9 seconds left. She held her follow-through much to the admiration of the crowd, who gave her a standing ovation as she came out of the game right after. The 21-year veteran finished with 11 points.
The Liberty honored her pregame with a four-minute video tribute, and one-time teammates Sami Whitcomb and Natasha Howard gave Bird a jacket and jersey that featured every New York team stitched into them.
Sue Bird getting a standing ovation as the clock winds down on her potential final game in her native New York 🙌 pic.twitter.com/yRbY2cEa5R
New York players wore shirts that said: “Thank you Sue. Love, New York” while they warmed up an hour before the game.
Bird needed about 100 tickets for family and friends who wanted to take in her last game in New York. The crowd — one of the biggest of the season — included her mom, Nancy.
The 41-year-old Bird received a standing ovation from the crowd when she was introduced. She had a relatively quiet first half with two points, three assists and two rebounds as Seattle led 39-37 at the break.
The game was tight throughout, and Seattle (10-6) led 75-72 in the final minute before Williams hit a 3-pointer with 53.3 seconds left from the wing after a scramble for the ball.
Marine Johannes scored a career-high 23 points to lead New York (6-10). Sabrina Ionescu added 12 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Liberty.
Fever rally to beat Sky
NaLyssa Smith scored a career-high 26 points — including a go-ahead three-point play in the closing seconds to help the Indiana Fever erase a 15-point second-half deficit and beat the Chicago Sky 89-87 on Sunday.
Smith was fouled as she hit a turn-around jumper from the left block and made the free throw to give the fever an 88-87 lead with 39 seconds left.
Chicago missed two shots on the other end before Victoria Vivians was fouled with 7.8 seconds remaining. She made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Fever a two-point lead.
After the Sky called a timeout, Courtney Vandersloot missed a short baseline jumper and the Fever held on.
Kelsey Mitchell added 13 points and nine assists for Indiana (5-13). Emma Cannon, who went into game with 14 points this season — scored 11 points and Hull finished with a career-best 10 points. Smith, the No. 2 overall selection in April’s draft, which was 11-of-17 shooting and had 11 rebounds.
Kahleah Copper made 8 of 13 from the field, 4 of 6 from 3-point range and 8 of 10 from the free-throw line and finished with a career-high 28 points for the Sky (10-5). Vandersloot added 13 points and seven assists and Meesseman had 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
Chicago’s Candace Parker, who averages 12.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game this season, missed her second consecutive game due to a knee injury.
Copper converted a three-point play in the closing seconds of the first half and made two free throws to open the third quarter to cap a 21-3 run and give the Sky a 15-point lead — their biggest of the game.
Smith scored six points and Mitchell the other four in a 10-0 run over the next 2 minutes and Danielle Robinson hit two free throws to give the fever a 57-56 lead with 4:20 left in the third.
Mystics beat Sun
Elena Delle Donne scored all 15 of her points in the first half and the Washington Mystics beat the Connecticut Sun 71-63 on Sunday.
Ariel Atkins and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough each scored 10 points for Washington (11-7).
Delle Donne converted a three-point play and then hit a 3-pointer about a minute later to make it 14-9 midway through the first quarter and the Mystics led the rest of the way.
Connecticut scored six consecutive points to trim its deficit to eight nearly-2 minutes later but Alysha Clark scored four points in a 7-0 spurt that made it 38-23 with 6 minutes left in the first half and the Sun couldn’t recover.
Jonquel Jones had 15 points and 16 rebounds for the Sun (12-4).