Sunday, June 19 – 4 p.m. PT
KeyArena | Seattle, WA
JOEtv; WNBA League Pass
The defending champion Lynx made history against Indiana on Tuesday, becoming the first team in WNBA history to start a season 11-0. It’s not just the unblemished record that sets them apart – In five of Minnesota’s 11 wins, the margin of victory was 17 or higher. The Lynx will be fresh having had four days off between games, while the Storm (4-8) will be two days removed from finishing a grueling road trip in which it played four games in seven days.
Minnesota has won 16 of the last 20 meetings, including a 78-71 victory in Seattle on May 22. In front of 9,686 fans at KeyArena, the Storm kept it close throughout the night against the three-time champions, thanks in large part to a then-career high 20 points from Alysha Clark. Seattle held the Lynx to 40.5 percent shooting – their second-lowest percentage of the season thus far – and the seven-point margin of victory is their second-smallest of the year.
Alysha Clark, who led all scorers with 20 points in the first matchup on May 22, is having a career season for the Storm. In her fifth year with Seattle, Clark is averaging 9.5 points per game on 50.7 percent shooting and 46.2 percent from three-point range (the best percentage in the league among those who have taken 25 threes). Since scoring 20 in the game against Minnesota, Clark set a new career high by recording 23 points on 7-for-7 shooting vs. New York on June 5. Among players who average at least 26 minutes per game, Clark has the second-highest true shooting percentage in the WNBA.
On the offensive end, shot selection and efficiency haven’t been issues for Seattle – The Storm shoots 45.2 percent from the field, one of the highest percentages of the league. However, the Storm is also second in the WNBA with 16.2 turnovers per game. One of Minnesota’s many strengths is forcing turnovers and scoring in transition, as the Lynx leads the league in both categories.
If the Storm is going to be the first team to take down Minnesota, it will likely need a strong outing from reigning Rookie of the Year Jewell Loyd. The second-year guard has already exploded on numerous occasions this year, including a pair of 30-point games. The last time these teams met, it was perennial All-Star Seimone Augustus who guarded Loyd to start the game. Loyd finished with 14 points but also had six turnovers.
- On Sunday against Minnesota, six No. 1 draft picks will share the court: Seattle’s Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart, plus Minnesota’s Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus and Janel McCarville). Additionally, with the Lynx roster including four United States Olympians (Lindsay Whalen, Sylvia Fowles, Augustus, Moore) and the Storm’s including two (Stewart, Bird), Sunday’s game will feature half (6) of the 2016 USA Women’s Basketball Olympic roster.
- Storm guard Monica Wright will be facing her former team for the second time. Wright was acquired midseason last year – the Storm traded Renee 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).