By DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Gabby Williams scored a season-high 23 points in Seattle’s 81-72 victory over the New York Liberty on Sunday in Storm Sue Bird’s last regular season game in her hometown. native.
Bird, the league’s all-time leader in assists, announced Thursday that she will retire at the end of the 2022 season. She grew up on Long Island, about an hour from Barclays Center.
Bird sealed the game with a 3-pointer as the shot clock ran out with 18.9 seconds left. She held her follow-up to the admiration of the crowd, who gave her a standing ovation as she walked out of the match shortly afterwards. The 21-year-old veteran finished with 11 points.
The Liberty honored their pregame with a four-minute video tribute, and former teammates Sami Whitcomb and Natasha Howard gave Bird a jacket and jersey that every New York team was stitched on.
The New York players wore shirts that read, “Thank you Sue. Love, New York” as they warmed up an hour before the game.
Bird needed about 100 tickets for his family and friends who wanted to attend his last game in New York. The crowd – one of the biggest of the season – included his mother, Nancy.
The 41-year-old bird received a standing ovation from the crowd when she was introduced. She had a relatively calm first half with two points, three assists and two rebounds as Seattle led 39-37 at the break.
The game was close throughout and Seattle (10-6) led 75-72 in the final minute before Williams hit a 3-pointer 53.3 seconds from the wing after a run 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.
DiDi Richards played his second game of the season, coming back from a right hamstring injury. She checked in the middle of the first trimester. Richards finished the game playing 13 minutes and had a point and four rebounds.
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