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Seattle's future is bright as rookies shine in win over Minnesota

Tonight, the Storm were led by rookies Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (career high 16 points) and Jewell Loyd with 14, as Seattle defeats Minnesota 78-64.

Tonight, it was Seattle's youth on display as they would face the Minnesota Lynx without veteran guard Sue Bird.  The rookies were the stars as Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had a career high with 16 points, four rebounds, and four assists.  Jewell Loyd had a very strong game as well, she led the team through most of the game and ended with 14 points on 5-8 shooting from the floor.  Second year player, Markeisha Gatling also had a very strong game as she had the first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.  Gatling also did a good job defensively against Sylvia Fowles, her former teammate in Chicago.

When asked about the challenge of playing against Sylvia Fowles tonight, Gatling said "We would go at each other in practice (last year in Chicago) .  It was just like practice.  I was used to it, so I was ready for it.  She told me to go at it."

Then when asked about the team effort, Gatling said "I think tonight was a night for everyone to show what we bring to the team.  It's not just one person, it's a full team effort.  I think that was our statement for the night."

Both teams played well in the first quarter.  The two teams exchanged baskets early going back and forth.  Sylvia Fowles was dominating in the low post early in the game, she led the team with eight points in the first quarter.  The Storm went ice cold towards then end of the first, shooting just 33% for the period .  Storm trailed 19-16 after one; Jewell Loyd led the team with six points.

Seattle started to get into a good groove in the second quarter, led by Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis with seven points off the bench.  The Storm got out to an 10-4 run early in the period.  The Storm ended up outscoring the Minnesota Lynx 23-14 in the quarter.  The Storm would dominate the rest of the game, when Minnesota rarely threatened.  Seattle would start the third quarter on an 8-2 run, to build a twelve point lead at 47-35.  Seattle would outscore Minnesota in the final three quarters by a margin of 62-45.

We talked to Kaleena after the game.  She was asked to talk about the first half of her season where she didn't get a lot of playing time and compare that to now.  Mosqueda-Lewis said, "Yeah it was tough in the beginning, not playing a lot of minutes.  Once I got the opportunity I tried to make the most of it and contribute as much as possible.  And once I did that, the minutes started to come more frequently."

On Coach Ryan Webb helping her out in practices, "I think Ryan's just brought confidence in my game in the WNBA.  Reminding me that I'm more than just a shooter, I can be a scorer.  Someone that can use my shot as a weapon to do other things, but not the only thing."

On driving to the basket and how that part of her game has developed, Kaleena said "I've definitely think it's developed a lot.  Like I said, It has a lot to do with being able to use my shot to bait the defender in.  When I figured out I can use that against them, it made it a lot easier to get to the basket."

Interestingly enough, the Storm went with a lineup of Angel Goodrich, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Jenna O'Hea, Quanitra Hollingsworth, and Markeisha Gatling for the entire fourth quarter.  Four of Seattle's five starters tonight played under 20 minutes, including Rookie of the Year candidate Jewell Loyd; who logged just 19 minutes tonight.

Coach Boucek was asked if she went with that lineup because that team was playing well together or more to evaluate those five players.  Boucek said "No they were rolling.  We wanted to try and get people as many minutes as possible.  And they had a good flow together so we just rode it."

When asked about Sue not playing in three of the past four games and whether that was because she needed rest or because the coaching staff wants to evaluate the younger players more, Coach Boucek said "No I mean, she's legitimately banged up right now.  Because of our objective to develop young players, when she's banged up; we feel it's not smart to push her right now"

The Storm will play their final game of the season this Sunday at Key Arena as they host the San Antonio Stars.  The team that loses this game will end up with the best chance of winning the WNBA Draft lottery; being held later this month.