Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird drives by Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen in the Storm's 79-76 win on May 19. Photo via jlindstr.smugmug.com.
2 Total Updates since July 17, 2010
almost 3 years ago Update 0 comments
As Pat Borzi of the Seattle Times described, the Storm’s victory was decided by a three point shot from guard Tanisha Wright:
Storm win ninth straight, beating Lynx 73-71
For the 10th time in their rush to the WNBA’s best record, the Storm on Saturday entered the fourth quarter trailing, this time by seven points to an improved Minnesota Lynx team they struggled to beat in Seattle two months ago.
And for the eighth time, the Storm pulled it out. Tanisha Wright’s three-pointer from the right baseline with 52.6 seconds to play provided the deciding points in the Storm’s 73-71 victory. But Lauren Jackson did most of the work, scoring 14 of her 26 points in the fourth quarter as the Storm won their franchise-best ninth consecutive game and matched the 2000 Houston Comets for the second-best 20-game record in WNBA history, 18-2.
The Lynx had a final opportunity to win the game, but ultimately failed to convert.
Storm extend franchise winning streak to nine
…three straight free throws by Rebekkah Brunson put the Lynx ahead, 71-70, with 1:11 remaining.
Wright came back down and nailed a three to gain a two-point edge, and from there Seimone Augustus turned it over and missed a jumper on the last two Minnesota possessions.
As usual, Jackson led the way for the Storm with a game-high 26 points, but ultimately it was the Storm’s overall shooting that led them to victory, outshooting the Lynx by nearly 20% in the pivotal fourth quarter. Overall, it made for a very impressive — if slightly surprising -- victory for the Storm. From SBN’s Swish Appeal:
Storm-Lynx Statistical Summary: Storm Simply Outshoot The Lynx
Despite the Lynx outplaying the Storm in offensive rebounding (30% – 25%), turnover percentage (15% – 28.05%), and free throw rate (29% – 25.4%), the Storm won this game with their shooting.
So how important was the Storm’s three point shooting? Effective field goal percentage might help to put that in perspective.
At the end of the first half, the Storm were down 37-36 but outshot the Lynx 44.8% to 37.1% from the field. But looking at their effective field goal percentage — which takes into account the additional value of made three point shots — the Storm outshot the Lynx 55.17% to 40%. Their first half three point shooting made for a very significant 10 percent difference in how we look at their shooting.
However, it was the last quarter where the Storm’s shooting really overwhelmed the Lynx. The Storm only went 2-7 from the three point line, but outshot the Lynx by nearly 20% from the field — 41.2% to 21.2%. The fact that they also outrebounded the Lynx 43% to 20% only added insult to injury. Not to pile on here, but it’s a worthwhile point — the Storm also had a 2 point percentage of 50% in each of the final three quarters, which means that although they weren’t getting to the line quite as much as the Lynx, they managed to convert the easier shots at a much higher percentage.
What’s remarkable about this game is not just that the Storm were resilient, but that they managed to find a way to win this game on the road despite really being beaten in most significant ways except the most significant: shooting. During the Storm’s last championship run, they returned from the All-Star break and went on a bit of a slump. If you allow for a loose historical comparison, during their 2004 championship run, the Storm sort of limped out of the All-Star break. So it’s quite encouraging that they’ve come out of the 2010 All-Star break with consecutive road games in which they pulled out a triple overtime game and gutted out a game that they could have very easily lost.
Does that mean they should just go ahead and raise the championship banner in Key Arena? Certainly not. But with each successive win over Western Conference opponents, it becomes harder to imagine scenarios in which they don’t get a chance to do so in the 2010 WNBA Finals.
almost 3 years ago Update 0 comments
The path to greatness always includes some sort of obstacle to overcome.
Although no Western conference team has been able to defeat the Seattle Storm, their 73-71 win over the Minnesota Lynx this afternoon was definitely a test of this team’s resilience and mental strength.
The strange thing is that it’s hard to even determine how they pulled this one out.
The Storm were down 59-52 to open the 4th quarter and appeared to just be going through the motions. Their trademark defensive intensity wasn’t there and they had turned the ball over 19 times through three quarters, a rate far higher than usual.
Then about halfway through the fourth, something seemed to click. The Storm’s All-Star trio of Sue Bird, Swin Cash, and Lauren Jackson got going with a fastbreak layup by Bird off a Lynx turnover tying the game at 62. From there, the Storm’s defense continued to step up, not only forcing turnovers, but forcing the Lynx into 21.4% shooting in the fourth quarter on their home floor. The fourth quarter numbers in this one probably tell the story better than the narrative description because the shift in momentum seemed to come from nowhere.
Jackson led the way once again with 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks while Tanisha Wright finished 2 points shy of a double-double with 8 points and 10 assists. All-Sar Rebekkah Brunson led the way for the Lynx with 19 points and 9 rebounds while Seimone Augustus and Swin Cash chipped in 13 points apiece.
almost 3 years ago Update 0 comments
To some extent the Seattle Storm are so far ahead of the pack in the Western Conference, that it almost seems like the rest of the second half of the season is just a ceremonial march to a number one seed in the playoffs.
Today the 17-2 Storm aim for their 9th straight victory in Minnesota against the 7-11 Lynx, who are 9.5 games behind the Storm in the Western Conference. However, with the whole Western Conference struggling, the Lynx might have an interesting excuse.
The Lynx entered the season with championship expectations after a huge off-season in which they traded for point guard Lindsay Whalen and added 2010 All-Star power forward Rebekkah Brunson through a dispersal draft. However, they began the season without star wings Seimone Augustus and Candice Wiggins and then found themselves in the Western Conference cellar.
The Lynx have won five of seven games but are still below sea level with a 7 and 11 record. However, in the WNBA's woeful Western
Conference, the Lynx should make the playoffs.
Minnesota's bar of expectation is still high, even though the team is playing without injured star Candice Wiggins.
"Our goal was to win the championship. And I think now our goal has to be to get ourselves into second place. That will give us home court advantage until the last game and then we'll just see how it goes," said Glen Taylor, the Lynx owner.
But since getting Augustus back, the Lynx have experienced something of a revival, even while Wiggins went down with a second injury after Augustus returned. For the Lynx, this game comes within a string of home games that gives them the opportunity to prove that they can be a threat to the Seattle Storm. From Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times:
"We had a three-game win streak, then Candice goes out," Whalen said. "So we're trying to get it rolling. We've had a couple of good practices and are just trying to carry it to the court.
"We're right there with San Antonio and Phoenix in the mix (for second in the West). After Seattle, everybody is kind of jumbled. We just have to stay with it and look at every game as an opportunity."
The Lynx have the benefit of playing five straight home games after the break, as well as a healthy Augustus. She averaged 17.6 points on 48.1 percent shooting in her last five games, with the Lynx going 3-2 in that span.
If there's hope for the Lynx, it's that the Storm's two losses have come on the road. Nevertheless, the Storm have yet to lose to a Western Conference opponent and they don't appear to have any intention of letting up this season even as the Lynx attempt to surge ahead. A win today would further cement the Storm's place in history:
Gameday: Lynx vs. Seattle
If Seattle wins, it will match the second-best start (18-2) in WNBA history by Houston in 2000. One of the Storm's victories this season was over the visiting Lynx, 79-76 on May 19.