By STEVE HUNTER
SEATTLE (AP) – Even at 38 years old, Tina Thompson still has plenty of game left for the Seattle Storm.
Thompson scored a season-high 30 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead the Storm to a 96-86 overtime win over the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night.
“She’s a winner and she’s proven that,” Seattle coach Brian Agler said about Thompson who will retire after this season. “It’s nice for us and our fans and our players to have her on our team so we can enjoy this and see her at her best.”
Thompson made 5 of 9 3’s and had eight rebounds.
“That’s a great way to go out,” Wright said about Thompson. “I hope she continues to play the way she’s playing. What she’s doing is nothing short of amazing. She’s one of the greatest so this is what you expect.”
Tanisha Wright had five of her 17 points in OT as Seattle (3-3) outscored Washington 18-8 in the extra period. Temeka Johnson added 16 points and Camille Little 15 to help the Storm snap a three-game Washington winning streak. Seattle made 23 of 24 free throws.
Crystal Langhorne scored a season-high 23 to lead Washington (4-2). Reserve Matee Ajavon had 17 points while Monique Curry and Michelle Snow had 12 apiece. Ivory Latta added nine points and six assists.
“I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win by getting back into the game with our defense,” Washington coach Mike Thibault said. “But then we made crucial mistakes and they took advantage of it. Our scouting report was not to let Tina Thompson pop and take 3’s and not help off of her but we did it anyway. We have only ourselves to blame for that.”
The loss kept Thibault one victory short of tying Van Chancellor for the most in WNBA history.
Ajavon made two free throws to give Washington an 80-78 in overtime, its first lead since midway through the second quarter.
But the Storm answered with six straight points, including a 3-pointer by Thompson just prior to the shot clock buzzer to seal the win.
Thompson hit a 10-footer to give the Storm a 78-76 lead in the fourth quarter before Currie tied it with two free throws with 1:07 remaining to send the game into overtime.
Wright missed a 21-footer with 23.7 seconds left and a 20-footer with 1.9 remaining that could have given the Storm the victory in regulation.
Seattle led 76-66 with 5:27 remaining before the Mystics scored 10 straight to tie the game at 76-76 with 2:12 left on Ajavon’s inside basket.
Thompson and Little combined for 10 points to help the Storm to a 60-47 lead midway through the third quarter before Langhorne and Latta combined for 13 during a 13-4 run to cut the advantage to 64-60 at the end of the quarter.
Seattle, still trying to find its identity playing a full season without the injured Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird, looked to veterans Thompson, Little and Wright to carry the load against Washington.
Fans even chanted “Tina Thompson” after the 38-year-old forward scored and was fouled on a drive to put the Storm up 74-64 with 6:37 left in regulation.
“I guess anytime that happens it’s cool,” Thompson said about the chant. “When you’re in the moment, it’s not something you think about. You just focus on finishing out the game.”
Johnson scored 12 and Thompson 10 to help put the Storm up 47-40 at halftime.
Bird received a standing ovation during player introductions in her first appearance in front of the home crowd since the announcement that she would miss the season with a knee injury. She sat on the bench in street clothes.
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