Storm clinch semifinal birth

May lose Sue Bird

By Percy Allen | The Seattle Times

The Seattle Storm locked up a spot in the WNBA semifinals following a 107-95 shootout victory over Dallas on Wednesday in Bradenton, Fla.

The sixth straight win guaranteed Seattle (17-3) a top-two finish in the regular-season standings and a double bye in next week’s playoffs.

However, the victory may have been costly.

Midway in the fourth period, Sue Bird, who has missed nine games this season due to a bone bruise in her left knee, collided knees with Dallas rookie forward Satou Sabally while attempting a steal.

Bird collapsed on the IMG Academy court and stayed on the floor for several minutes before getting up gesturing toward her knee. The 39-year-old point guard walked gingerly off the court and didn’t return.

“She banged that same knee, and I’m not sure how bad it is,” coach Gary Kloppenburg said during a Zoom call. “She was walking around OK at the end, so hopefully it’s nothing too serious.”

Seattle has two regular-season games left, but Kloppenburg could give Bird 10 days of rest before the Storm’s begins the postseason on Sept. 20.

“We’re just not sure what it is with her,” Kloppenburg said. “She’ll get evaluated, and we’ll figure out going forward what we need to do with her.”

Losing Bird muted the postgame celebrations for the Storm, which tallied a season-high scoring output offensively and dug in late defensively to put away a young and feisty Dallas team that’s fighting to secure the No. 8 playoff seed.

The Storm plays Phoenix today at 7 p.m. (CBSSports Network/JoeTV) before wrapping up against second-place Las Vegas on Sunday in a game that could determine the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.

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