Updated Mar 30, 2011 - 8:26 am
Bird leads Storm past Dream in WNBA finals opener
Angel McCoughtry had a last-second try for the Dream, but her long 3-pointer from the left side bounced off the far side of the rim at the buzzer.
The best-of-five series resumes Tuesday night in Seattle.
Bird also hit a key shot in the Western Conference finals, making a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left to give the Storm a 91-88 victory against Phoenix in the clinching game.
League MVP Lauren Jackson had 26 points and eight rebounds for Seattle. Bird finished with 14 points, and Camille Little had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
McCoughtry and Iziane Castro Marques had 19 points apiece for Atlanta. Sancho Lyttle added 10 points and 14 rebounds.
On a day when the Seattle Seahawks opened their NFL season in front of more than 60,000 fans at Qwest Field just a few miles to the south, an announced crowd of 15,084 filled the lower bowl and a good portion of the upper balcony at KeyArena.
Jackson made a 3-pointer late in the third quarter to give Seattle the lead for good at 52-49 and the Storm carried a six-point advantage into the final period.
Atlanta trailed by nine in the fourth before rallying, tying it at 77 on Castro Marques' three-point play with a minute left.
The Storm went on a 20-4 run in the first quarter to take a 22-9 lead, hitting nine of their first 13 shots while the Dream came out cold, hitting just four of their first 15.
But Atlanta started playing better toward the end of the first quarter and carried it over to the second. A 21-6 surge capped with a steal and driving lay-in by Coco Miller gave the Dream a 30-28 lead with 3:42 left in the half.
Castro Marques made a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to tie it at 39.
Each team had to deal with foul trouble for one of its star players.
Seattle forward Swin Cash picked up two in the first minute of the game and was whistled for her third foul with 6:10 left in the first quarter. She wound up playing just 8 1/2 minutes in the first half.
McCoughtry also had three fouls before the end of the first quarter, and sat out the second period.
Bonneville Media encourages site users to express their opinions by posting comments. Our goal is to maintain a civil dialogue in which readers feel comfortable. At times, the comments can descend to personal attacks. Please do not engage in such behavior. We encourage your thoughtful comments which: have a positive and constructive tone, are on topic, are respectful toward others and their opinions. Bonneville reserves the right to remove comments which do not conform to these criteria.
Sue Bird made a tiebreaking jumper from the foul line with 2.6 seconds left and the Seattle Storm beat the Atlanta Dream 79-77 in Game 1 of the WNBA finals on Sunday.