On a day that saw a WNBA game get canceled due to airline delays, the Lynx also had to take a flight on a game day. Minnesota, after getting pummeled in Los Angeles Thursday night opted to spend the night in southern California and fly Friday morning before their matchup against Seattle. Minnesota didn’t seem bothered by the travel early on in the game as they lead 22-16 after one quarter.
The Storm looked like they were becoming a better team as the game went along. They were cold to start but continued to speed up the pace and take control of the game in the second half. Breanna Stewart had 20 points and seven rebounds while Sue Bird, who continues to defy father time, had a spry 14 points and 11 assists.
The Lynx were beaten by speed for the second straight game. While the defense wasn’t as nasty as Thursday night in Los Angeles, Seattle forced 18 Minnesota turnovers and converted them into 18 points. Also the Lynx gave up a season-high 22 fast break points to the streaking Storm. Fowles keep a firm grasp on the league’s top turnover total by throwing away seven possessions on Friday. As outlined here before, live ball turnovers are devastating for the Lynx. Seattle is such a lethal team in transition with Sue Bird dropping dimes to great finishers like Stewart and Jewell Loyd.
The Fowles and Moore Conundrum
Despite her turnover problems, Fowles was actually fairly dominant on the offensive end. She had 20 points on 11 shots and 18 rebounds. The Storm weren’t quite on point with their help defense strategy and were a few beats late when bringing a double team. Also Seattle isn’t very well equipped to matchup with a big dominant post player like Fowles. Stewart and former Lynx Natasha Howard, while above average defenders, do not have the size to guard her.
The Lynx are still struggling to get good offensive games out of both Fowles and Maya Moore simultaneously. Both of them have been elite players for stretches this season but the synergy between them has been lacking overall. Moore was held under ten points for the second straight game. If her jump shot isn’t falling, she has a hard time scoring the ball. She’s on pace to shoot fewer free throws than any season since 2013, and to top it all off, its probably been the worst playmaking campaign of her career.
The Lynx have two of the best ten players in the league. When that statement isn’t true, they will struggle to win against the best teams in the WNBA.
This game was a loud win for Seattle. Seattle is well on its way to a number one overall seed and beating the reigning champs is a great way to show the league you’re for real. Their second half was downright scary and they have all the pieces to win a title next month.
-Howard is a shoe-in to win the WNBA’s most improved player award this season. She blossomed in Minnesota under the tutelage of former assistant coach Jim Petersen. Its great to see her get a shot to start.
-With this win the Storm are the first team to qualify for the playoffs. With only seven games remaining, they seem like near-locks to get the number one overall seed as well.
No rest for the weary. Minnesota plays again on Sunday against the Atlanta Dream at Target Center. The Dream have won 8 of 9 games and are a crazy-good defensive team. Tip off is at 6pm. You can watch on Fox Sports North or listen at BOB 106 FM.