By Seth Dahle
Sylvia Fowles scored all of her game-high 26 points in the first half to give Minnesota an early lead, as the Lynx shot 59.4 percent and surged to a 100-77 win over Seattle on Saturday night in a matchup between the top two teams in the WNBA.
The Lynx (7-0) became the third team (Phoenix, Los Angeles) to score at least 100 points vs. the Storm (4-2), which suffered its first home setback of the 2017 season.
“They came out at a very high level,” said head coach Jenny Boucek on Minnesota. “I haven’t seen them play like that this year. They came out determined to show they’re number one for a reason. And we came out flat. It’s like getting punched in the face and getting the wind knocked out of you.”
Alysha Clark and Crystal Langhorne tallied 16 points apiece, while Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd contributed 14 and 10 points, respectively. In 28 minutes of action, Sue Bird recorded eight points and nine assists.
Minnesota came out of the gates on fire, hitting eight of its first nine shots to take a 20-9 lead at the 5:11 mark after a three-pointer by Seimone Augustus. All of the early scoring came by way of Augustus, Fowles and Lindsay Whalen, and the Lynx went on to swell the gap to 13 (24-11) after a bucket by Rebekkah Brunson.
Seattle didn’t help its case during the cold start, as the Storm was held without a rebound until the 2:46 mark of the first stanza. But thanks to 10 first-quarter points from Langhorne and eight team free throws, Seattle managed to stay within striking distance (32-21).
After falling behind by 16 (41-25), the Storm responded a 6-2 run to pull within 12 (43-31) after a bucket by Carolyn Swords, but Minnesota fired back with a 13-0 run to stretch the lead to 25 (56-31) with 2:55 left in the first half.
The Lynx led, 64-39, at halftime thanks to 26 points from Fowles, who did her damage on 10-for-11 shooting and only attempted one more shot for the remainder of the game. The Lynx total was the most first-half points scored by a Seattle opponent in franchise history. Minnesota also pulled down eight offensive rebounds, which beat Seattle’s overall first-half total of seven.
Thanks to five quick points by Clark and heavy defensive pressure, Seattle came out of the second half on a 9-2 run to crawl within 18 (66-48), but Minnesota continued to have an answer, getting a three from Whalen and points from Brunson to make it 72-46.
Three’s by Maya Moore, Whalen and Brunson anchored a 12-2 Lynx run to increase the margin to 29 (84-55), and Seattle never got closer than 25 in the third quarter.
Back-to-back layups by Clark brought Seattle to within 19 (86-67) with 6:49 left to go, but that’s as close as the Storm would get. Minnesota scored eight of the next 10 and rode to its third straight win at KeyArena.
Brunson finished the game with 21 points on 9-for-10 shooting, while Whalen and Augustus added 19 and 13 points, respectively.
Seattle heads to San Antonio to face the Stars on Tuesday at 5 p.m. PDT. Fans can secure the best seats in the house with Storm 360 Memberships, available now, starting at $180, available online or by calling (206) 217-WNBA (9622). Packages and group discounts are available at 206-217-WNBA (9622).