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Seattle Storm fall to New York Liberty 77-81 with no answer for Tina Charles

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Tina Charles scores 30 points as the Liberty escape with an 81-77 win in Seattle.

Neil Enns - Storm Photography

What looked like it could be a complete blowout after the first quarter ended up being a highly contested battle right down to the final minute of the game.  The Storm started off ice-cold from the field, shooting only 26.7 percent from the field and only scoring 13 points at the end of the first quarter.  Tina Charles alone had 12 points for the New York Liberty, as she helped the Liberty get out to a 26-13 first quarter lead. 

In what was the most impressive quarter of the season, the Storm came surging back in the second quarter outscoring the Liberty 32-14, which gave the Storm a 45-40 half-time lead.  The Storm shot just under 78 percent from the field in the second  quarter. 

Both teams battled back and forth in the second half, swapping the lead several times.  Former Storm players Swin Cash and Tanisha Wright came up big, scoring late baskets and free throws to give New York the lead.  Ultimately the Storm just had no answer for Charles, who absolutely dominated the entire game in the paint.  The Storm finally started to implement a double-team on her late in the game, but it was too little, too late.  Charles ended the game with a game-high 30 points on 14-of-24 shooting, mostly from inside the key.

The Storm were led by Sue Bird's 14 points and seven assists.  Very fittingly on Japan Night, Japanese star Ramu Tokashiki was tied for a team-high 14 points and also added four rebounds.  Number one pick Jewell Loyd struggled a little this game, only scoring eight points, and, unfortunately, had a game-high four turnovers.

Before the game, former Storm players Tanisha Wright, Katie Smith, and Swin Cash were all given loud cheers from the Storm Crazies; Wright earned a complete standing ovation.  As a long-time Storm fan, it was nice to see the familiar faces and it was fun to watch Tanisha Wright and Sue Bird go at it on the court after being teammates for several years.

Towards the end of the game, it was announced that Sue Bird had been named to her ninth All-Star game; which ties Bird as second all-time in WNBA History - a huge accomplishment which earned another standing ovation at the game. 

What's Next:
The Storm will start a six-game road trip after the All-Star Break against the Washington Mystics on July 29th.  Their next home game will be on August 14th against the Chicago Sky.