NEW YORK, July 2 (UPI) -- Sue Bird scored 12 points in her return home but was outdone by the New York Liberty, who had four players in double figures in a 74-63 victory Tuesday night over the Seattle Storm.
Bird, a native of Syosset, N.Y., played her high school basketball at Christ the King and collegiately at Connecticut, making her a regular at Madison Square Garden. The Liberty reportedly tried to trade for the rights to the No. 1 pick in an effort to bring Bird home, but the Storm turned their offers.
The rookie point guard's first WNBA game was against New York in Seattle. For her return, she was cheered loudly at every turn. She made 3-of-6 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, and handed out six assists.
Despite Bird, the Storm suffered their fourth straight road loss. Meanwhile, the Liberty won for just the second time in seven games.
Tari Phillips scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half and keyed a decisive run. Tamika Whitmore scored 15 points, Vickie Johnson added 14 and Crystal Robinson 13.
Seattle held a 33-31 halftime lead, but New York opened the second half with a 16-6 surge. Phillips scored nine points in the run and a 3-pointer by Robinson capped it at 47-39 with 13:49 to play.
Bird's two free throws cut the deficit to 56-51 with 6:40 left. Johnson made a basket and Becky Hammon sank two layups for a 62-51 bulge with 4:39 to go. The Storm got no closer than seven points thereafter.
Lauren Jackson scored 17 points for Seattle, which began a four-game road trip.