Six days ago the Minnesota Lynx throttled the Seattle Storm in Minneapolis. It was a defensive clinic by the Lynx in which the reigning champs never had a chance. Tuesday night facing the Storm in their temporary new Everett, WA home was very different.
Seattle had a fantastic first half hanging 49 points on Minnesota. Six of their seven three pointers came in the first half. They looked like a completely different team at home. After being forgettable last week in Minneapolis, Jewell Loyd was back to her dynamic scoring ways, finishing with 19 points. The Storm led by ten at the break.
The second half was a different story. Minnesota used a 13-4 run halfway through the third quarter to tie the game. Napheesa Collier was superb again, not at all resembling someone playing her first month of WNBA basketball. She led the team in scoring with 17 points, 15 of them coming in the second half when she took it to Storm forward Alysha Clark, one of the league’s best wing defenders.
Unfortunately for Minnesota their offense sputtered in crunch time. Damiris Dantas hit a three pointer (her third of the night) with 4:12 remaining in the fourth quarter to put her team up 75-74. Unfortunately Minnesota would only score once more the rest of the game, ultimately losing 77-84.
Defense and rebounding will define this season for the Lynx. Its the foundation on which their team is built. The team has the best record and net rating in the league early this summer due to their ability to be excellent in these areas through their first three games. That all went out the window Tuesday night as the Lynx allowed Seattle to shoot 59.3% from the field while setting a Minnesota franchise record for fewest rebounds in a game with 17.
Loyd, Jordin Canada and Natasha Howard cooked the Minnesota defense. They were patient and precise in execution, swinging the ball from side to side. Seattle also pushed the pace all night, getting into their offensive sets early in the shot clock, or taking advantage of an off-night from the Lynx transition defense.
New Lynx Karima Christmas-Kelly played in her first game of the season after missing the first three with knee soreness. She came of the bench and played 12 minutes. She took and made her only shot, a three pointer in the second quarter. It’s good to see her out there but her presence was not felt in this game.
Sylvia Fowles passed Tina Thompson to move into fourth on the WNBA’s all-time rebounding list.
Danielle Robinson had a fantastic two-way game. She had 11 points on six shots while bringing her trademark pressure on defense. Snatching four steals, Robinson ignited the Lynx fast break on a number of occasions. Unfortunately she gave those possessions back with four turnovers of her own as well. Two of them came late in the fourth quarter causing Cheryl Reeve to re-insert Lexie Brown into the game.
Odyssey Sims has had a rough start to her 2019 season when it comes to scoring the ball. She’s shooting a ghastly 34.7% from the field through four games. Fourth-worst league wide amongst all players averaging at least 25 minutes per game. The trend won’t continue, she’s currently missing layups that will eventually start to fall.
Minnesota went very big at one point in the second half rolling out: Brown, Talbot, Collier, Dantas and Fowles. This is a lineup that can create some interesting mismatches, yet be flexible with their two best outside shooters.
This game was played in one of two temporary homes for the Storm this season: Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, WA! Key Arena is being renovated this summer so the team will play its first five home games in Everett before moving to University of Washington’s Alaska Airlines Arena later in the year. Sound familiar Lynx fans?
Minnesota returns home to face Brittney Griner, DeWanna Bonner and the Phoenix Mercury. This will be the Lynx biggest test of the early season. The game tips at 7pm CT on Thursday night.
Watch: Fox Sports North, WNBA League Pass
Listen: BOB 106FM