SEATTLE -- Sheryl Swoopes isn't going to dominate entire games as she often did for the Houston Comets while becoming the first player to win three WNBA MVP awards.
But the 37-year-old Swoopes sparked a second-half surge for her new team while Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird and Swin Cash each scored 17 points to rally the Seattle Storm to 74-62 victory over the Sacramento Monarchs on Tuesday night.
"You see when things start breaking down, they become more aggressive," new Seattle coach Brian Agler said of Swoopes and Cash, who with Yolanda Griffith are the remodeled Storm's new starters this season.
Griffith scored two points and had five rebounds in 23 minutes of her first game against the Monarchs after nine seasons in Sacramento, including one as league MVP and another with a WNBA championship. Many of the Monarchs embraced Griffith at center court after the game.
Was it weird for Griffith to play against friends whom she said she taught all of her "old-school tricks?"
"Nope. All of that weirdness is out of my system. I have this uniform on now," Griffith said.
Rebekkah Brunson scored 15 points while Nicole Powell and Kara Lawson each had 10 for Sacramento (1-1).
Swoopes, limited to just three games last season with Houston following back surgery, missed her first six shots and nine of her first 11.
She finished with 10 points and started a 30-11 run that sent Seattle (2-0) to victory, although she limped off the court late with a turned ankle that Agler called a "tweak."
Swoopes put back her own missed jumper, fed Jackson with a sharp pass in the lane for another basket and made a 3-pointer to cut what had been Sacramento's 13-point lead to 38-33 midway through the third quarter.
The Storm finally tied it, at 47, early in the fourth quarter on Griffith's only basket of the game underneath off a pass from Cash. That was after a 3-pointer by Katie Gearlds and a three-point play by Cash.
A barrage of 3-pointers, by Bird from the top of the key and then Gearlds from deep on the wing and the corner in front of a stunned Monarchs bench, suddenly put the Storm ahead 56-49 with 5:31 remaining. Jackson followed with a leaning 3 as the shot-clock buzzer blared. That put Seattle up 61-51, and it cruised from there.
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