Web Editorial Associate
Just 21 games into the 2017 WNBA season, the Minnesota Lynx have already clinched a playoff berth.
The Lynx took down the Seattle Storm 93-82 Sunday night at Xcel Energy Center in front of an announced sellout crowd of 12,432.
With the win, Minnesota improved to a WNBA-best 19-2 overall and are the first team in the league to secure a spot in the playoffs. The Lynx also extended their winning streak to six straight.
“It was like, yeah this is the first time in WNBA history that someone has made the playoffs in July and we were like ‘yeah, OK.’ I guess (coach Reeve) wanted a different response, but we still have games to play,” Sylvia Fowles said after the game. “We aren’t worried about that. That’s what makes us us and that’s what makes us good, because everybody is humble and we aren’t losing sight of just clinching playoffs.”
Fowles led the way for the Lynx in the game, finishing with 29 points, 12 rebounds. Maya Moore had 24 points, six assists and three rebounds, Rebekkah Brunson had 20 points and six rebounds, Renee Montgomery had eight points and five assists, Lindsay Whalen had seven points.
Jia Perkins added five points, seven assists and six rebounds in her first start of the season. Perkins replaced Seimone Augustus, who was out due to personal reasons, in the starting lineup.
“We just have to have that next women up mentality. One of our sisters are down, so everyone has to step up and bring a little bit more,” Perkins said. “We just try to do what we can to fill that void. It’s a tough void to fill, but we tried to. Everyone has to give a little bit.”
Jewell Loyd had 26 points and five assists and Breanna Stewart had 24 points and seven rebounds to lead Seattle. Sue Bird had 10 points and six assists, Crystal Langhorne had eight points and 10 rebounds and Noelle Quinn add five points and six assists off the bench.
“Seattle, they just hold so many challenges. I think they run some really good stuff on offense,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Their spacing is just so good, and their reads and their ball screens, that you step the wrong way and they are making a pass for a shot. It was a hard game for us. We really locked in on trying to disrupt and I thought we did a little bit better job in the second half of putting pressure on the ball.”
With the win, the Lynx improve to 19-2 overall and lead the Los Angeles Sparks (17-6) by three games for the best record in the league. With the loss, the Storm fall to 10-13 on the year.
Highlight Of The Game
Fowles’ third quarter was the highlight of the game, giving Minnesota a boost out of halftime.
The veteran center tallied 14 of her 29 points in the third quarter alone.
The Numbers Game
- Minnesota had three players score 20 or more points in the same game for the first time since Aug. 6, 2013 against San Antonio. Moore had 26, Augustus had 21 and Brunson had 20 in that game.
- The Lynx held a 46-28 advantage over the Storm in points in the paint.
- Minnesota shot 52.2 percent from the field in the game, while Seattle shot 45.5 percent.
Player Of The Game
Sunday night’s Lynx Player of the Game goes to Sylvia Fowles.
Fowles finished with a game-high 29 points, her second highest point total of the season thus far. Her season-high is 30.
Fowles shot 11-of-14 and went 7-for-8 from the free throw line.
“I thought Syl was better in the second half on focusing through frustrations of being hit and whatever not going her way,” Reeve said. “It’s crazy, she was 11-for-14 and I thought she should have made all of her shots. They were right there at the rim. She really settled in and that’s part of her maturity.”
The Lynx will host the Atlanta Dream at 7 p.m. Thursday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The game will be aired on ESPN 2 and 106.1 BOB FM.”