Conventional wisdom in the preseason was that returning a veteran starting lineup that has been together for three years would help the Seattle Storm in their quest for a second consecutive title.
Yet the San Antonio Silver Stars beat the Storm 69-66 behind amazingly poised play from rookies off the bench down the stretch.
Silver Stars rookie forward Danielle Adams led the way with a game-high 23 points and six rebounds, including a decisive three point play in the final minute in the post that gave her team the winning margin. Fellow rookie reserve Danielle Robinson used her speed to race around the court and milk the clock with their three point lead and hit four clutch free throws after getting fouled to finish with 12 points and three assists.
Tanisha Wright, who finished with a team-high 18 points, scored the Storm's final basket with 2.2 seconds left to cut the deficit to one, but the Storm were without a timeout after Robinson's free throws and point guard Sue Bird was unable to get off a half court desperation heave in time.
Nevertheless, there were positives for the Storm.
Although Cash finished just behind Wright with 13 points, this was a far more balanced performance for the Storm and particularly from their characteristically short bench in which they got 13 combined points from Ashley Robinson and Katie Smith, who hit a big jumper in the last minute as well to bring the Storm within one. The Storm shot 4-for-9 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter to give themselves a chance to win.
However, turnovers ultimately did the Storm in with the team committing 20 and Cash having six herself. Although they cut down on those turnovers in the fourth quarter, throwing away possessions in the third hurt their chances to take the lead after being down at halftime.
The Storm travel to Minnesota next for a game against the Lynx on Saturday, who were idle tonight thus leaving the Storm at fourth place in the conference with only a game and a half separating first and fourth in a competitive Western Conference.