On Friday night, Seattle was able to go wire-to-wire against the best team in the WNBA (Los Angeles Sparks) and come out on top with a victory. For the first half of Sunday, against Minnesota, it looked like Seattle was going to be able to do the same.
This game looked like it could have gotten out of hand early, as Minnesota jumped all over Seattle with an 11-0 run to start the game. Seattle finally got on the board when Jewell Loyd was able to attack the basket for two. Loyd was pivotal in helping Seattle overcome the large deficit and eventually take the lead in the second quarter.
Seattle would rally in the first quarter, and cut Minnesota’s lead to five at 26-21. Loyd led Seattle with nine points after the first period and helped keep the Storm in the game. Minnesota was led by Sylvia Fowles and Maya Moore who each had six points at the end of the first quarter.
The Storm came out very strong in the second quarter. It was by far their best quarter of the game, and their best quarter all season against the Lynx. Seattle used a 12-4 run to start the quarter and take a 33-30 lead with 6:40 left to play in the half. Ramu Tokashiki had one of her best games in the season and scored eight of those twelve points during Seattle’s big run. Seattle would build upon their lead and end the first half with an impressive 47-41 lead. Seattle out-scored Minnesota 26-15 in the second quarter.
Unfortunately, Minnesota did what good veteran championship teams do. They didn’t let one bad quarter define them. Minnesota’s defense stifled Seattle in the second half of this game. In the third quarter alone, Minnesota went on a 10-0 run and a separate 9-0 run; completely erasing Seattle’s lead and building a big one of their own. While Minnesota was able to shut Seattle down defensively, the Storm couldn’t get any stops on the defensive end. They consistently allowed Lindsay Whalen to attack the basket and when she didn’t, Minnesota was knocking down almost every jump shot they took. Whalen had seven points in the third quarter and 16 after three quarters. The Lynx out-scored Seattle 32-18 in the third and would take a 73-65 lead into the forth and final frame.
Whalen continued her onslaught on the Storm in the fourth quarter, scoring an additional eight points to give her a game-high of 24 points. The closest Seattle would get is down eight at 76-68 with 8:33 left to play in the game. Unfortunately, despite Seattle having five players score in double-figures; Minnesota’s depth and veteran leadership proved to be too much. Minnesota out-scored Seattle 51-33 in the second half and would win the game 92-80.
Seattle was led by Jewell Loyd’s 20 points, four assists and two steals. Ramu Tokashiki added 13 points in just under 13 minutes off the bench. She also pulled down five rebounds. Veterans, Sue Bird and Crystal Langhorne each scored 11 points. And Breanna Stewart contributed 10 points, six rebounds and four assists. Unfortunately, these past two games it seems like Stewie’s extremely busy year may be catching up with her. She shot poorly again from the field in this game, going 4-11 from the floor.
Minnesota was led by Lindsay Whalen’s 24 points. Whalen only had two assists and in this game, it wasn’t as much about getting her players involved, as it was making sure her team did not drop another game. With the win combined with Los Angeles losing another game, the Lynx have reclaimed the number one overall seed for the playoffs. Seimone Augustus had a strong game with 18 points, including a rare 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down. Maya Moore scored 13 points, Sylvia Fowles added 11 points, and Jia Perkins provided 10 points off the bench.
Seattle Coach Jenny Boucek:
On being out-rebounded 39-29
“We talked about that being the key to the game - is rebounding, and we just couldn’t get it done.”
On Lindsay Whalen’s play:
“She hit some really tough shots - a lot of shots that I think we could have ... we were a little bit off in our pick and roll defense. I think that’s where she got some. Our scheme and our execution on our pick and roll defense was not great tonight.”
On the challenge of playing the top two teams in the league back-to-back:
“We have to rebound first and foremost. We worked on it really hard over the break, you wouldn’t know it tonight. But that’s going to be a big key for us - our defense and our rebounding and then having great poise on the offensive end and creating great shots for each other. For us to win, and a lot of our games are on the road, our defense and our rebounding has got to be really, really good.”
Seattle’s record drops to 10-16, with eight games remaining. Despite Washington’s loss against the San Antonio Stars on Sunday, Seattle is technically the number nine overall seed as the Mystics currently own the tie breaker. Seattle will host the Dallas Wings next on Wednesday at KeyArena at 7:00pm. We hope to see lots of Storm Crazies there as Seattle pushes for that eight and final playoff spot.