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Storm nearly pull off the upset, but the Lynx win and clinch the #1 seed

The Storm were able to stay competitive with the Minnesota Lynx, but ultimately their rally fell short as the Lynx won 73-67.

Maya Moore leads Minnesota past Seattle, 73-67.
Maya Moore leads Minnesota past Seattle, 73-67.

After being blown out by Chicago just a few days ago, the Storm were able to keep this game competitive for the most part.  The Storm played well in the first and fourth quarter, but a poor second quarter led them to play from behind throughout the game.  The Storm would rally from 18 down in the 3rd quarter, to cut Minnesota's lead to just one point with 2:11 left in the game after a layup by Jewell Loyd.  But the rally would ultimately fall short.  The Storm were down three points with 14 seconds left to play with the ball.  Unfortunately, Jenna O'Hea threw a bad pass that led to a turnover.  With a few seconds left the Storm were forced to foul.  Minnesota did what any playoff team would do and that's make their free throw shots when it counts.  Seattle fell 73-67.

The Storm were able to play at closer to full health tonight, with the return of Sue Bird (missed the past two games - non-injury) and Ramu Tokashiki made her return from Japan.  Tok had missed the past four Storm games as she was helping Japan qualify for the Olympics.  We're happy that she was able to help her country get to the Olympics for the first time since 2004 and even happier to see her return to the Storm's lineup.  Tok has nine points and five rebounds in her return tonight against Minnesota.  Seattle is still without Abby Bishop, who may be out for the rest of the season (two games left) with a hamstring injury.

No real surprise, Maya Moore was the big star for Minnesota tonight.  Moore had 20 points, seven rebound, and five assists; she did it all tonight.  She had a strong supporting cast as Anna Cruz chipped in 15 points and eight assists and Sylvia Fowles added 14 points and four rebounds.  Former Storm guard, Renee Montgomery, provided six points in the starting lineup, but was a -13 in the plus/minus scale.  Quite possibly a reason, why Seattle traded her away earlier this season.  Surprisingly, Minnesota decided to rest Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus this game.  I won't be surprised if even more Lynx players are rested when they play in Seattle this Friday; especially after Minnesota locked up the Number one overall seed in the Western Conference with tonight's victory.

Seattle had three players in double figures tonight.  Crystal Langhorne led the team, as she has most of the season, with 14 points and five rebounds.  Jewell Loyd, coming off her impressive 21 point effort in Chicago, added 13 points and three assists.  However, turnovers continue to be a big problem for the rookie, as she committed a game-high six turnovers in tonight's game.  Alysha Clark played well and was very effective from the floor, shooting 5-6, and scoring 12 points to go along with six rebounds.  After resting two straight games, Sue Bird played 31 minutes and contributed seven points and led the team with eight assists.

The Storm will now host the Minnesota Lynx this Friday, 7:00pm at Key Arena.