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2011 WNBA Playoff Race: Seattle Storm Win Tiebreaker With San Antonio Silver Stars

Tonight was a very good night for the Seattle Storm (15-12), who are starting to find some offensive rhythm with center Lauren Jackson back in the lineup.

With their 63-55 win over the fourth place San Antonio Silver Stars (13-13), the third place Storm gave themselves 1.5 games of breathing room which could only increase over the next five days: while the Silver Stars play a pair of games against the first place Minnesota Lynx (21-6), the Storm will the last place Tulsa Shock (1-24) and fifth place Los Angeles Sparks (12-15) at KeyArena.

The Sparks also helped themselves tonight by winning an overtime game with the Washington Mystics' (5-21), whose ineffective late-game execution cost them the game as much as anything that Candace Parker's recent return to action might have. In any event, the Sparks are now 1.5 games behind the Silver Stars with their win and tonight is yet another perfect example of why the Sparks still have a chance to make the playoffs even as they play subpar basketball even with Parker in the lineup - while the Silver Stars are busy traveling to KeyArena and Minnesota, the Sparks get rewarded for a suspect performance against the Mystics with a home game against the Shock.

It's almost just bad luck for San Antonio that Danielle Adams is out for them in the middle of a rough patch while the Sparks get Parker back in the middle of one of the easiest stretches of games the league could possibly offer; it's not even that the Silver Stars are playing that poorly overall, they've just gotten a tough draw with a key player absent and need to do more to beat these teams.

"We competed and we're getting better, but getting better is not necessarily good," said Silver Stars forward Sophia Young. "We have to get there and win a couple games in the next stretch coming up because these games are very important to us."

In more good news for the Seattle fans, the Phoenix Mercury's (15-11) home loss to the New York Liberty means that the Storm are now half a game out of second place in the Western Conference with their next game also against Tulsa on Thursday.