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Lynx 72, Storm 61: Defending the Champs

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Minnesota impresses again

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Fresh off Saturday night’s season opener where they accepted their championship rings and picked up a win, Seattle came into Minneapolis looking to start a streak. Instead Minnesota controlled the game from the opening tip to the final buzzer defeating the Storm 72-61. This one was more of a blowout than the final score would indicate. Odyssey Sims led the Lynx in scoring with 15, but it was more of a total team effort on offense with six Minnesota players scoring at least nine points.

First Half Fortress

The Lynx essentially put this one away in the first half holding Seattle to only 24 points before the break. Anchored by the presence of Sylvia Fowles, the home team defense was impeccable to start the game. Seattle was resigned to chuck inefficient long twos after being rebuffed by Lynx bigs patrolling the paint. Damiris Dantas and Fowles are both fantastic interior defenders and at least one of them is in the game at all times. Seattle shot a putrid 30 percent from the field in the first half. Minnesota‘s defense looks like their headlining feature this season. So far, so good.

Starless in Seattle

Last season the Storm were the toast of the town, the leaders of the league, and the winners of the WNBA title. This year will be something entirely different. 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart will miss the entire season, Sue Bird is out indefinitely, and their head coach is away from the team undergoing cancer treatment. Also Key Arena, the Storm’s home court is undergoing renovation all summer and the team will play in two different college gyms instead. Throw in an minor injury to starting forward Alysha Clark and it spelled disaster for Seattle Wednesday night in the Twin Cities.

The Storm simply looked toothless. They aren’t totally lacking in talent but the pieces don’t seem to fit. Their offense was broken for most of the night as they settled for contested jump shots instead of getting anything going in the paint or from beyond the three point line. Fifth year guard Jewell Loyd is supposed to be ready to take on a larger role this season but looks lost without Stewart or Bird. It’s only been two games but Loyd needs to figure it out quickly. With seven of their first nine games on the road and a slim margin for error in the 34 game WNBA season, Seattle can not afford to get off to a rough start.

Notes

Seimone Augustus and Karima Christmas-Kelly both missed their second straight games with knee issues. Christmas-Kelly seems likely closer to playing in the near future. Minnesota’s defense will (hopefully) get even better once she returns.

Dantas went 2-3 from the three point line in this game. She’s been so solid on defense and on the glass in the first two games. Those threes are a cherry on top and a huge boost to Minnesota’s offense.

Napheesa Collier had another nice game filling the stat sheet albeit in fewer minutes due to foul trouble. She finished with nine points on five shots with four rebounds and four assists.

Former Lynx Natasha Howard always gets a nice ovation when she returns to Minnesota. She had a game high 18 points.

Next Up

The Lynx head to Dallas for their first road game of the year. Hopefully Christmas-Kelly can suit up and face off against her former team. The game tips at 7pm CT on Saturday night.

Watch: Fox Sports North, WNBA League Pass

Listen: BOB 106 FM