Game Preview: Seattle Storm Hosts Defending Champion Lynx in Home Opener

Sunday, May 22 – 4 p.m. PT
KeyArena | Seattle, WA
JOEtv; WNBA League Pass

Team Details

After blowout victories over Phoenix and Chicago, the defending champion Lynx (2-0) are one of two unbeaten teams in the league. Minnesota has won the WNBA title three of the last five seasons. The Storm (1-1) picked up its first win of the 2016 season on Friday, coming from behind to beat the Mercury on Jewell Loyd’s game-winning shot in the final seconds.

Head-to-Head History

Minnesota has won 15 of the last 19 meetings, including four victories last season. In their last four visits to KeyArena, however, the Lynx have come out victorious just once. Minnesota is the team that eliminated the Storm from the playoffs in each of Seattle’s last two playoff appearances (2012, 2013). In its lone home opener against the Lynx, Seattle won 88-85 on May 20, 2004, thanks to 31 points from Lauren Jackson and 17 from Sue Bird.

Notable Statistics

One week into the season, the Lynx rank first in the league in a number of categories: points per game (96.0), shooting percentage (52.8 percent), assists per game (25.5) and steals per game (12.5). Former Storm guard Renee Montgomery leads the league with five steals per game, and Sylvia Fowles is No. 1 in the WNBA with 13.6 rebounds per contest.

Storm forward Breanna Stewart has been by far the most impactful rookie thus far, leading all first-year players in scoring (18.5 points per game) and rebounding (9.5). She already matched the franchise record for rebounds in a game by grabbing 13 on Friday against Phoenix. Heading into Sunday’s matchup with Minnesota, Stewart ranks fourth in the WNBA in rebounding and tied for eighth in scoring.

Key Matchup

This game features the top two scorers in the WNBA: Loyd and Minnesota’s Maya Moore. After notching a career-high 30 points on Friday, Loyd holds a league-best average of 25 points, slightly edging Moore’s 24.5 per contest. The 2014 WNBA MVP, Moore is also among the league leaders with eight assists per game.

Notes

  • When the Storm hosts Minnesota, guard Monica Wright will be facing her former team for the first time. Wright was acquired midseason last year – the Storm traded Montgomery and a draft pick for her – but she missed the final two months of the season due to knee surgery. Wright played in 161 regular season games and 29 playoff games during her six years with the Lynx, which featured a pair of championships (2011, 2013).
  • Sunday’s contest will feature six of the 12 players representing the United States at this summer’s Olympics, plus six No. 1 draft picks. For Seattle, Stewart and Bird were selected to the Olympic team. Minnesota’s Olympians are Moore, Fowles, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen. The No. 1 draft picks are Stewart, Loyd, Bird, Moore, Augustus and Janel McCarville.