Web Editorial Associate
The Lynx got back on track on Sunday night, beating a dangerous Seattle team 92-80, completing the four-game season sweep of the Breanna Stewart-led Storm.
The now 22-5 defending WNBA Champions were guided to victory by guards Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus. The two Olympians played very efficiently and combined for 42 points, four boards, five assists and a block/steal.
Sylvia Fowles notched a double-double with 11 points (5-for-6) and 11 rebounds, while Jia Perkins had her second impressive game by tallying 10 points and three assists.
Rebekkah Brunson, also known as the ‘Machine,’ contributed seven points and 10 rebounds, three of those boards being offensive. Those three ‘hustle rebounds’ were enough to overtake Taj McWilliams-Franklin (1062) for the top spot on the league’s all-time offensive rebound list.
“I told her, it’s fitting that she’s the number one because it’s a huge part of her identity,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Offensive-rebounding, she’ll tell you this, it’s a ‘want to,’ and if you’re around Brunson, you know the size of her ‘want to.’ It’s pretty huge. She knows it’s vital to our team when she does that and I’m just happy that it happened for her in a Lynx uniform because she’s done amazing things for this team in that area. I was really proud of her and to be able to do it in front of a home crowd, I think was really fun and she got the recognition that she deserved.”
Jewell Loyd led the Storm with 20 points, four assists and two steals, but thanks to Minnesota’s intense defense in the second half, Stewart and Sue Bird weren’t really able to get going, finishing the contest with a combined 21 points on 8-for-22 from the field.
14: Sunday night’s win marked this number of consecutive games that Minnesota has defeated the Storm inside the Target Center.
“[Seattle] is a good team, they’re a really good team,” Brunson said “I just know that there were a lot of things that we wanted to do coming off of the last game – we didn’t play the way we wanted to play, we didn’t accomplish the things we wanted accomplish. First and foremost we wanted to fix those things and I think we did a pretty good job of that tonight.”
10: Thanks to some stellar play in the paint between Fowles and Brunson, the Lynx were able to out-rebound Seattle by this impressive margin.
“Rebounding, rebounding is the key,” Bird said. “We knew that coming in, but that’s what makes them good team. You know what the game plan is and it’s still hard to stop them. I think that’s what hurt us. All and all, if one thing sticks out, check out the box score, it’s going to be the rebounding.”
9: Although the first half may not have gone as planned, Minnesota tightened up their defense in the second half and moved the ball well offensively. The Lynx finished the night hitting 52.1 percent of their shots from the field, this many percentage points better than the Storm.
“It took everything we had to be able to gut out a win, which is what this league is like when we’ve got people vying for playoff positions and really, really hungry,” Reeve said. “More than anything just turning the ball over and giving them easy baskets off of 11 fastbreak points, but not making it very difficult for them to score. In the second half, we were way better in that area and I thought the defense was really pretty solid.”
1st: The Los Angeles Sparks lost their second straight game since coming back from the Olympic break, coming up short against the Phoenix Mercury 70-66. Their most recent loss moves them to a 21-5 record. With Minnesota now sitting at 22-5, the Lynx are now ranked this place in the league.
Leader of the Pack: Lindsay Whalen
The veteran guard and Olympian tossed in a season-high and game-high 24 points for the Lynx on 9-for-15 shooting. In less than 30 minutes of action, Whalen was able to muster a plus 26 plus/minus rating, along with two assists and a steal.
“When she gets aggressive in transition and looks to push it, it builds her momentum and it’s tough to stop her,” Bird said. “She did a good job at that tonight.”
A nice four day break. Minnesota will take Monday and Tuesday off and resume practice on Wednesday, August 31st, in order to prepare for their game on Friday night against Washington. The Mystics and Lynx will face off at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and the game will be available on WNBA’s League Pass and 106.1 BOB FM radio.