SEATTLE, May 30 (UPI) -- Crystal Robinson scored 17 points and Tamika Whitmore added 14 Thursday night as the New York Liberty spoiled the much ballyhooed pro debut of Sue Bird with a 78-61 rout of the Seattle Storm.
Bird, a New York native, lost for the first time since her junior season at Connecticut, where her team lost to Notre Dame in the Final Four. Bird led the Lady Huskies to a 39-0 mark this past season and there were rumors on draft day that the Liberty were involved in serious trade talks with Seattle in an effort to nab the top overall selection.
A three-pointer by Robinson capped a 14-2 run that gave New York a 25-12 advantage with just under 11 minutes left in the first half. The Liberty settled for a 36-26 advantage at halftime.
Bird scored Seattle's first nine points of the second half, including a three-pointer to pull the Storm to within 43-34 with 13:45 left. But then the Liberty scored nine straight points, including a three-point play by Robinson, for an 18-point cushion with just over 11 minutes to go.
Bird led all scorers with 18 points. She added six assists and was 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Felicia Ragland netted 15 points and Semeka Randall added 13.
Tari Phillips and Vickie Johnson each scored 13 points for New York, which posted its second straight blowout victory after a season-opening loss at Los Angeles on Saturday. The Liberty have shot 53 percent (60-of-114) from the field over the last two games.
The Storm played without starting forward Lauren Jackson, who was out with a sprained right ankle.