SEATTLE — KeyArena engulfed Tina Thompson with cheers, scoreboard acknowledgments and congratulatory signs.
She was emotionless.
The Storm forward sank an open 13-foot jumper from the left side to surpass 7,000 career points — increasing her WNBA record — with 9:02 remaining before halftime of an eventual 75-60 win against Chicago that snapped a four-game losing streak. But Thompson gave the equivalent of a shrug after reaching the mark, quietly tending to guard Tanisha Wright, who was hit in the head on the assist to Thompson. Then Thompson gave a slight wave as the in-game celebration ensued.
As she has throughout her 16-year pro career, Thompson let her game do the talking. She entered the matchup midway through the first quarter, and her first six points buoyed a 14-4 run to help Seattle take a 26-13 lead.
“I’m really not an accolade-type of person unless it involves a really big trophy and rings to match,” Thompson said of winning a fifth WNBA title. “I didn’t know (I hit the mark) because Tanisha got hit in the face, so I wasn’t paying attention. Then Katie (Smith) came over and was like, ‘That (the applause) is for you.’”
Ignoring the distraction, the Storm continued with its hot shooting in the second quarter to lead 46-28 at halftime. Seattle stitched together another 14-4 run in the third quarter, getting feeds inside to center Ann Wauters, to totally blow the game open at 60-32.
Wauters was 7 for 11 from the field for a team-high 16 points. The Storm, exploiting the absence of Sky center Sylvia Fowles (lower leg), shot 49 percent overall. Thompson passed WNBA legend Lisa Leslie’s 6,263 career points in August 2010. The next active players on the all-time scoring list are Storm stars Katie Smith (6,205) and Lauren Jackson (5,992).
“It speaks to her ability to score and her longevity,” said Storm point guard Sue Bird, who’s 14th on the list (4,433). “Not everybody can play that long and still be effective the way she has. That’s a whole other ballgame.”
The Storm is already locked into the West’s fourth playoff spot at 14-18 and biding its time before a first-round playoff matchup against top-seeded Minnesota (26-5). Only two regular-season games remain.
“This game was important for us to concentrate on our team and to feel good,” said Wauters, whose team outrebounded the Sky 42-25. “And also to try to get better because we’ve had some ups and downs.”
Bird returned to the lineup, missing the past three games due to a left hip flexor injury, and had a game-high eight assists. Alysha Clark returned from sickness but Jackson (hamstring) missed her third consecutive game. She was re-evaluated Monday and is expected to practice on Thursday.
Reserve Svetlana Abrosimova sprained her right wrist in the first half. She is questionable for Friday’s home finale.
“I like the way we defended, and we played with a purpose at the offensive end,” Storm coach Brian Agler said.
“It was a real good effort for us.”