Game Preview: After Impressive Win Over Sparks, Seattle Storm to Face Minnesota

Sunday, August 28 – 4 p.m. PT
Target Center | Minneapolis, MN
ESPN2; WNBA League Pass

Team Details

The Storm had one of its best performances of the season on Friday, earning a 79-72 win over the league-leading Los Angeles Sparks. Seattle is now 10-15, which equals its win total from last season with nine games remaining. The defending champion Lynx, meanwhile, lost a close game at Connecticut on Friday in their first contest since the Olympic break.

Head-to-Head History

They Lynx have won 18 of the last 22 meetings between the teams, and they’ll be going for a 4-0 season sweep on Sunday. Seattle hasn’t won at Minnesota since 2010 (13 consecutive defeats).

Notable Statistics

After falling 96-66 at L.A. in May – the worst loss of the season – the Storm avenged that defeat on Friday thanks to a stout defensive performance. The Sparks entered the game averaging a league-high 85.9 points per contest, but Seattle held them to 72, including just seven points by former MVP Candace Parker. The Sparks’ 28 points in the first half represented their lowest total for any half of the season. Seattle forced L.A. into 17 turnovers, five of which were steals by Jewell Loyd.

The Storm, which ranks fourth in the league with 18.8 assists per game, has reached 20 or more assists in seven of the last eight games. Sue Bird, who ranks second all-time in assists, is yet again atop the WNBA leaderboard with 6.0 helpers per game. Jewell Loyd has also shown the ability to be a playmaker in her second WNBA season. She’s dished out five or more assists on seven occasions, increasing her average from 1.9 assists per game last year to 3.2 this season.

Second-year wing Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis has been given significantly more playing time over the last eight games, and her three-point shooting off the bench has been a much-needed boost for the Storm. Mosqueda-Lewis is averaging 9.0 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting during the last eight outings, including back-to-back games of a season-high 12 points. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft, Mosqueda-Lewis has hit at least two three-pointers in six of those eight contests.

Key Matchup

Storm point guard Sue Bird, 35, is having one of the best seasons of her career. Her 12.6 points per game are the two-time champion’s most since 2011, while her 6.0 assists per contest are her most in the last decade. Bird’s 45.9 percent from the three-point line is the highest rate of her entire career. She’s coming off a 15-point, six-assist game against L.A. and will duel Olympic teammate Lindsay Whalen in the backcourt on Sunday.

Notes

  • Sunday’s game will feature half of the gold-medal winning United States team from the Olympics: Seattle’s Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, plus Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles. The Americans went 8-0 in the tournament in Rio de Janeiro, winning by an average margin of 37.1 points per game. Bird won her fourth Olympic gold medal, while Stewart won her first.
  • The Lynx have re-signed Anna Cruz, who won the title with them last year and played for New York in 2014. Cruz helped Spain win its first-ever medal at the Olympics. Spain’s only two losses in the Olympics were against the USA, one in the preliminary round and a 101-72 result last Saturday in the gold-medal game.