SEATTLE — Ahead of Game 4 of their must-win semifinal series on Tuesday against the Las Vegas Aces, members of the Seattle Storm were confident they could overcome a heartbreaking 110-98 loss in overtime in Game 3 on Sunday.
“You just do it,” said Storm guard Sue Bird, who announced she will retire at the end of the season after two decades in the WNBA. “You just do it. I don’t think any of us have forgotten that, but at the same time, the beauty of sports, once the ball tips, you can stay in that moment.”
“Once the game starts, you’re so in the game. I think the same kind of logic applies to recovering from a turnover like we had the other night. You think about it, you think about it, and once the ball leans in, you just play the game.”
Bird, who has played in 59 of the 63 playoff games in Seattle franchise history and has been on the list for all of them, didn’t think about any losses he’s experienced compared to the one on Sunday. The Storm led Game 3 by four points with 11.3 seconds remaining in regulation, only to allow three straight scores to Las Vegas, the last one a Jackie Young layup at the buzzer that forced overtime.
“I think that’s by far the worst,” Bird said. “I’m sure if I really sat down and thought about it, I could do something, but not in the semifinals or the playoffs. Probably in the regular season.”
“The drama of what happened at the end of this one and a run of 7-3 with 11 seconds… that’s like Reggie Miller s—.”
Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds during Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals to help the Indiana Pacers rally from a six-point deficit to beat the host New York Knicks. Indiana went on to win the series in seven games.
Seattle coach Noelle Quinn, who like her Aces counterpart Becky Hammon opted not to hold practice Monday, met with her coaching staff to review the latter stages of Game 3, learn from what happened and now look forward.
“Let’s forget about it when we leave this room,” Quinn said of her message to her staff. “It does.”
After teams played three games during the first eight days of the series, there was only one day off between Games 3 and 4. Bird said he feels quick turnaround is a positive in this situation.
“Obviously it’s the way we lost that makes the loss difficult,” he said. “If we had lost on a ‘regular’ basis, it might have been different. But that’s what makes the series difficult. When you win a game, you feel like you’re on top of the world, and when you lose a game, I feel like the The world is ending. That just makes it difficult, but when you have rapid changes, it’s less time to feel those different emotions.”