Friday, July 22 – 5 p.m. PT
Target Center | Minneapolis, MN
WNBA League Pass
Currently on a five-game winning steak, the defending champion Lynx (20-4) have already clinched a playoff spot for the sixth straight year. Minnesota is in the hunt for the No. 1 overall seed, while Seattle (9-14) is now tied for the eighth and final playoff spot after beating the San Antonio Stars on Wednesday.
The only team the Storm faces four times this year, Minnesota narrowly won both contests at KeyArena earlier this season. After Friday’s matchup, the two teams will meet again on Aug. 28 at the Target Center, where Seattle hasn’t won since 2010 (12 consecutive defeats).
The Lynx attempt just 13.6 three-pointers per game, while the Storm has been firing shots from downtown at a historically high pace this season. So far this year, 465 of Seattle’s 1,433 shots (32.4 percent) have been three-pointers, by far the highest rate since the line was moved back in 2013. It’s also the second-highest percentage by any team in the last seven years (33.8 percent of Seattle’s shots were three-pointers in 2012). The Storm averages 20.3 treys attempted per game.
Other than three-pointers, Minnesota is near the top of the league in nearly every statistical category. The Lynx score 86.1 points per game (first in WNBA) on 47.1 percent shooting (second), while giving up just 76 points per game (second) on 40.8 percent shooting (first). Minnesota also boasts the best defensive rebounding percentage in the league (.538) and the second-best overall rebounding percentage (.528).
The last time these two teams met, Minnesota fed Sylvia Fowles in the low post early and often, and the reigning Finals MVP scored 16 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Breanna Stewart countered with 21 points and nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as the Lynx earned a 96-84 win. Stewart has been on a tear defensively, blocking five shots in each of the last two games. The Storm will need her to play sound defense again Friday night in order to knock off the defending champs.
- Friday’s contest will feature six of the 12 players representing the United States at next month’s Olympics. For Seattle, rookie forward Breanna Stewart and veteran guard Sue Bird were selected to the Olympic team. Minnesota’s Olympians are Maya Moore, Sylvia Fowles, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen.
- Seattle will be without forward Ramu Tokashiki, who is representing Japan in the 2016 Olympics and will return to Seattle after the tournament in Brazil. This will mark the first Olympic appearance for Tokashiki, a three-time Most Valuable Player in Japan’s WJBL. The 25-year-old previously led her National Team to titles at the 2013 and 2015 FIBA Asia Championships, where she also earned MVP honors.
- This is both teams’ final game before the month-long Olympic break. The Storm will return to action on Aug. 26 at KeyArena against the league-leading Los Angeles Sparks.