SEATTLE — Sue Bird wouldn’t let the Storm lose this game.
It didn’t matter if she’d broken her nose 48 hours earlier and the top-seeded Storm had lost momentum to No. 5 Phoenix, which controlled most of the game Tuesday.
Bird stepped up and scored the game’s biggest points in the final minutes to lead the Storm back to the WNBA Finals with a 94-84 win in Game 5 of its WNBA semifinal.
Game of 1 of the WNBA Finals against No. 4 Washington is 6 p.m. Friday at KeyArena.
Bird, who had five assists, scored 14 of her 22 points in the fourth quarter. She also had five assists.
Before Bird’s fireworks in the end, Breanna Stewart carried the Storm with a game-high 28 points and seven rebounds.
Alysha Clark added 13 rebounds and 13 assists, while backup guard Sami Whitcomb provided a big lift off the bench with 11 points.
Bird got going after being knocked to the floor and got up shouting at officials, who called for a jump ball with DeWanna Bonner.
“When I saw that I was like yes, we got this,” Whitcomb said when asked about Bird’s outburst. “Sue has got this. It fired her up and fired her up.”
The Storm won the jump ball and Bird ended the possession with a momentum-swinging three-pointer that gave Seattle the lead for good with 3:56 left.
Bird outscored the Mercury 14-13 the rest of the way.
Diana Taurasi, who was 13-0 in winner-take-all games, finished with 17 points.
Phoenix received 21 points from Brittany Griner and 19 from Yvonne Turner. Bonner added 14.
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