NEW YORK (AP) — 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.
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.
RETURN OF DIDI
DiDi Richards played in her second game of the season, returning from a right hamstring injury. She checked in midway through the first quarter. Richards finished the game playing 13 minutes and scored one point and four rebounds.
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