In a matchup that featured six No. 1 overall picks, as well as six members of the US Olympic team, the Minnesota Lynx defeated the Seattle Storm 78-71 on Sunday night.
All five starters finished in double figures for the Lynx led by Maya Moore, who scored 17 points (7-of-15 FG, 2-of-4 3PM-A, 1-of-1 FT), grabbed nine rebounds and tallied four assists. It was the third consecutive game in which Moore led the Lynx in assists.
Lindsay Whalen scored 14 points (5-of-11 FG, 1-of-1 3PA-M, 3-of-3 FT) to go with six rebounds and three assists. She passed WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes on the league’s all-time scoring list, in which Whalen ranks 15th.
Sylvia Fowles was extremely efficient, scoring 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting in only 23 minutes of playing time. Rebekkah Brunson added a season-high 12 points (5-of-12 FG, 2-of-2 FT).
Despite shooting merely 22.2 percent (4-of-18 FG, 0-of-1 3PM-A, 3-of-3 FT) on her way to 11 points, Seimone Augustus clinched the game by knocking down two free throws that gave the Lynx a three-possession lead with a little over 10 seconds left to play in the final frame. Augustus has made 42 consecutive free throws dating back to 2014.
Having scored 14 unanswered points after falling behind by nine with roughly 3:30 left to play in the opening frame, Seattle had taken a five point lead into the second quarter thanks in large part to Breanna Stewart, who scored nine of her 14 points during the first quarter. But the Lynx answered with an 18-5 run shortly thereafter, making 7-of-8 shots to start the second.
After Brunson had made a putback with less than 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter, the Lynx headed into the locker room at halftime ahead by five.
What happened during the third quarter was….ugly, to say the least, as both teams combined to miss 23 consecutive shots. The first made field goal for either team during the third came with 2:33 left on the clock, when Renee Montgomery completed a three-point play, shown below.
Montgomery, by the way, scored just five points (1-of-4 FG, 3-of-3 FT) in only 13 minutes of playing time. She ranks atop the league in total steals with 12.
The Lynx went on to outscore Seattle 24-20 during the final frame.
Despite the loss, Seattle can look forward to the future based on what we’ve seen from Stewart as well as last year’s Rookie of the Year winner, Jewell Loyd. Stewart — who was selected No. 1 overall in the 2016 WNBA Draft — finished Sunday’s contest with 14 points (5-of-19 FG, 1-of-4 3PM-A, 3-of-5 FT) and a game-high 13 rebounds. Loyd, meanwhile, scored 14 points (5-of-9 FG, 1-of-4 3PM-A, 3-of-3 FT) and grabbed four rebounds while committing a game-high six turnovers.
Alysha Clark, a fifth-year player who has never averaged more than 10 points per game, scored a career-high 20 points. Sue Bird contributed 12 points (6-of-12 FG, 0-of-3 3PM-A), nine assists and four rebounds.
The Lynx three-game road trip concludes with a rematch against Phoenix this Wednesday. Phoenix, the team dubbed by a majority of league GM’s as favorites to win the WNBA Finals, has yet to win a game this season.