Freeman Coliseum – The court was pink, the jerseys were pink. The San Antonio Stars knew fans in the stands have fought a much bigger battle than the team did on the court. Jia Perkins was determined to not let the fans go home unhappy.
Perkins scored a game-high 32 points as the Stars defeated the Seattle Storm 88-81 in front of 4,691 fans on Breast Health Awareness Night at the Freeman Coliseum on Saturday night.
Kayla McBride added 20 points and Sophia Young-Malcolm chipped in 12 for San Antonio, who snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory. The win moves the Stars one game behind the Los Angeles Sparks for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“I thought the ball moved well today,” Stars head coach Dan Hughes said. “I thought Perkins was the key, when we needed a key basket. She seemed to be there for us in those situations and that was good to see coming out of it. Any time you have a Sue Bird led team, they’re not going to die. They’re going to come at you and they did.”
Perkins was 11 of 18 from the floor and made all eight of her free throws. Since returning from a calf injury that saw her miss six games, she has averaged 23.4 points per game.
“We did whatever we had to do,” Perkins said. “It’s not always going to be me every night, it’s not going to be Kayla, Sophia, just whoever’s number is called we just want to be there and be able to finish”
The night was not about just the action on the court, it had a special meaning. The team honored those who lost their lives to Breast Cancer and honored those who fought to beat it. Following the game, a jersey auction was held with proceeds going towards the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
“The breast health awareness is the absolute best thing I’ve ever been involved with in sports,” Hughes said. “This team’s had a lot of adversity, but how about those people that contract cancer, fight it, through all of the things and they’re sitting their cheering for us. Those are heroes. Those are people that show you the grit to live. We ask players to do it. This is a whole other level. This is always my favorite game and they was no way I was going to miss this game.”
The Storm were led by Crystal Langhorne’s 29 points. Jewell Loyd added 16 and Jenna O’Hea chipped in 14 for Seattle (5-17), who lost their fifth straight.
“I don’t know if we did a whole lot different,” Seattle head coach Jenny Boucek said. “I think just the law of averages. They cooled off a little bit. And unfortunately Jia (Perkins) got really hot in the fourth.”
The Stars are now 7-16 on the season and will return to the court on Tuesday when they travel to Minnesota to face the Lynx at 7 p.m. inside the Target Center.