Web Editorial Associate
Another road game, another victory in dominating fashion for the now 12-0 Minnesota Lynx as they beat the Seattle Storm on Sunday evening 96-84.
Despite getting off to a slow start and trailing 22-12 near the end of the first quarter, Minnesota was able to get in a groove quickly through ball movement and their presence in the paint.
The Lynx also got a lot of help from their bench who, as a unit, had arguably their best performance of the season, combining for 38 points, 12 rebounds, 13 assists and four steals.
“Clearly Seattle came out in the first quarter and we couldn’t stop them,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We just talked at halftime about how we had to be better defensively. We didn’t want to give them those big runs. Defensively we turned it up a little bit. We dictated a little bit more than we did in the first half. We cleaned up some of our schemes and that allowed us to get in a flow on offense.”
Maya Moore had an incredibly efficient and effective game for Minnesota, tallying 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting, seven boards and eight dimes in only 29 minutes of play.
Sylvia Fowles used her size well all game and finished with 16 points (8-for-13) and six rebounds.
Minnesota was able to pull away with ease in the second with their complete team effort on both ends of the court, leading by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter.
“Seattle is a tough place to play, they are a team that run their sets well and hard,” Moore said. “They push it in transition and we had to adjust to what they were trying to do and stay with our game plan and execute it. The depth of this team really showed through in those moments to get some big plans including Renee with those 10 assists, Natasha coming in and being 100 percent from the floor and the free throw line, Janel hitting a big three, Sylvia being that constant for us inside; just different people stepping in at big times.”
Rookie sensation Breanna Stewart put together another nice game for the Storm, tallying 21 points (7-for-11) and nine rebounds going against the taller and longer Fowles.
Seattle’s guards, Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd, had solid performances as well, combining for 34 points, five rebounds and 10 assists.
“They’re just very solid at every position,” Bird said of Minnesota’s squad. “Obviously they’re very deep and they’ve been playing together for a very long time, and they’re just really talented. Four Olympians, multiple all stars, you can just go down the list and I think aside from that, they have a really strong identity and it comes back to what I said first, which is they’re solid. They know who they are, they know what they do well, and they stick to it.”
30: The Lynx were outstanding at making the extra pass on Sunday night and assisted this number of baskets on 41 makes. The high number of assists matched a single-game franchise record.
56.2: Minnesota set season-high on Sunday night in field percentage, making this percent of their shots.
48: Minnesota put up another season- high by putting up this many points in the paint and outscoring the Storm by 16 in the painted area. Sunday’s game marks the sixth time this season the Lynx have scored 40 or more points in the paint.
“They really execute, they really dominate on defense, and force you out of your comfort zone; they do a really good job of that,” Loyd said of the Lynx. “They’re a veteran team that’s been together for a while, a championship team. They know the tricks, and we’re taking notes from them that we can hopefully use when we play other teams.”
9: Minnesota had this many players score six or more points in their victory over the Storm. Combine that statistic with the 30 assists and that comes out to a brilliant display of team basketball.
Leader of the Pack: Natasha Howard
One player who has been a workhorse for the Lynx all season and who really shined on Sunday night was Howard. In only 17 minutes of action, the 6’3 forward made all seven of her shots and finished with 16 points, two boards, a block and an 18 plus/minus rating.