It was another marquee match up for the Minnesota Lynx as they were taking on the number one pick, Breanna Stewart, and her Seattle Storm. The Lynx answered the call again and came out on top of a close game 76-71, after winning their first two by a combined 36 points.
The Lynx had their worst shooting night of the year so far at 40.5 percent from the field but the team was able to win the game with good team defense and a strong fourth quarter by the Minnesota veterans.
The game started out fast paced with Stewart showing off her all-around skills to the tune of 14 points and seven rebounds in the first half. The number one pick hit from three, made cutting scores at the basket and facilitated great ball-movement for her teammates on cuts of their own. She played a great two-player game with Sue Bird, her fellow Olympian teammate, making six total U.S.A. representatives in this game.
Minnesota got off to a 19-10 lead by attacking the paint but had a poor end to the first quarter, as they didn't score a single point in the last three and a half minutes. Stewart and the Storm took advantage of turnovers and poor shooting by the Lynx and went on a 14-0 run to end the first quarter. Sylvia Fowles scored a quick seven points but had to leave the quarter after committing two turnovers and two quick fouls. Maya Moore didn't take a single shot in the first.
That all changed in the second though. Moore got hot by scoring 10 points in the second and the Lynx had an 18-5 run of their own. The Lynx scored 24 of their 46 first half points in the paint and that was what they were best at all game. The third quarter was horrid for both teams as each had two points aside with 3:45 left and ended as 10-8 in favor of the Storm to bring the game within three.
The Minnesota veterans proved their worth in the fourth quarter to put the game away after the sloppy third. The four Olympians from the Lynx scored 20 of the team's 24 points while doing all of the little things you need to do to win a game like this. They cut off passing lanes for the Storm causing turnovers and grabbed offensive rebounds to limit the amount of chances Seattle could have to come back. Lindsay Whalen hit a three with 2:11 left in the game to go up nine and the Lynx slowly put the game away after that. After an electric first half, Stewart was held to zero points in the second and the Lynx played a physical game with the rookie forward. She ended the game with 14 points and 13 rebounds, giving her the same totals as last game and her second straight double-double.
There were some controversial no-calls on the young superstar on drives to the basket throughout the game, which helped the Lynx. Ultimately they played great team defense to hold the Storm to a mediocre shooting night of their own at 42.4 percent from the field. The Lynx scored 40 points in the paint where they have been good all year and each starter got into double-digit scoring. Moore lead the team in scoring and ended with 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks and the team counted on her all night when it got tight.
The Lynx have another tough matchup in a rematch with Phoenix away from home Wednesday at 9:00 PM CST. Hopefully Maya can bring the same defense as this game.