AT&T Center – Becky Hammon never gave up. The San Antonio Stars did not give up either as they snapped a losing streak on a night the best player in their franchises history had her jersey sent to the rafters.
Kayla McBride scored 28 points as she helped lead the Stars to a 73-69 win over the Atlanta Dream in front of 9,439 fans at the AT&T Center on Saturday night.
Dearica Hamby was the only other Star in double figures with 14 points, with 12 coming in the first quarter. Kayla Alexander tied her season-high with 10 rebounds as San Antonio outscored Atlanta 23-19 in the second half.
“I thought we hung in there,” Stars coach Dan Hughes said. We’ve been playing a level of pretty competitive basketball but today we found ways to take the spurts and lessen them to a degree to the point that it was a back and forth affair and I thought we closed with some really good defense. It gave us a chance to win, and we did.”
The victory added to what was already a special night. Becky Hammon’s No. 25 jersey was sent to the rafters, making her WNBA uniform the first to be retired at the AT&T Center. Hammon is the Stars all-time leader in career assists (1133), three-point field goals made (498), and points per game (15.6).
Hammon took the court to a standing ovation and chants of “Becky” from the Stars faithful. When speaking to her old teammates she told them, “You all are right there, keep doing what you did tonight.” That is a message that stuck with the team.
“It’s special coming from her because she sees it, she’s been in a couple practices with us, killing us most of the time,” McBride said. “But you know coming from her, someone who’s had so much experience, that’s really special and we take that to heart. I know I do, especially as a leader. I’ve had a couple discussions with Becky and I know when she came in she was in kind of similar spot as I am.”
The 39-year-old Hammon did not have an easy road to get where she currently is. Her journey to being an NBA assistant coach has inspired many and she hopes to continue to inspire more.
“I think people have just identified with me a lot,” Hammon said. “I’m not somebody who is 6-5. I can walk through La Cantera and no one notices me. I think I look very average on the outside. I think if you could peel back my skin and my ribs I think you’d see that my heart beats big. It’s pumped a lot into the game of basketball.”
Up next: The Stars are now 3-11 on the season and will return to the court next Wednesday morning to face the Washington Mystics at 10:30 a.m. inside the Verizon Center.