BRADENTON, Fla. — Led by a dominant offensive effort, the No. 2 Seattle Storm defeated the No. 4 Minnesota Lynx, 89-79, to go up 2-0 in the WNBA Semifinals. With one more win, the Storm would advance to the WNBA Finals.
Seattle was led by another incredibly balanced scoring effort, with Jewell Loyd leading the way with 20 points, but Breanna Stewart (17 points), Alysha Clark (13 points), and Natasha Howard (11 points) not far behind.
“[Loyd has] really stepped up in the playoffs,” head coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “She’s a big game top player, she’s a clutch player, and I think she’s really rising to the occasion.”
Stewart nearly logged a triple-double, with eight rebounds and seven assists to go along with her 17 points.
The Storm led by just three after one quarter, with Stewart, Howard, and Clark scoring six points a piece and Seattle as a team shooting well over 50% from the field. Minnesota erased the deficit and even took a brief lead in the second quarter, with Damiris Dantas knocking down a trio of threes.
Seattle quickly turned the tide again however, going on a 14-0 run to end the quarter to take a 13-point lead into halftime. Loyd was the catalyst again, scoring 12 points in the second quarter and carrying the Storm’s offense to a 46-33 lead. The Storm shot 55.2% from the field in the first half, and held the Lynx to just 29.4% shooting in a dominant first half.
Minnesota mounted a comeback in the third, reducing what was once a 21-point deficit to just six points at the end of the third quarter. Still, the Storm maintained their high shooting percentage and featured four double-digit scorers entering the fourth quarter.
The Storm got back to their dominant ways in the fourth, opening up a double-digit lead again early and holding on for the Game 2 victory.
“You can’t let down, you almost have to trick yourself into thinking you’re down two,” Kloppenburg said. “That’s the mindset you have to go in to have that sense of urgency to close a team out in that third game.”
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- Breanna Stewart tied for fourth on Seattle’s postseason career blocks list with two blocks tonight and 12 for her career. She’s two behind the franchise’s third-highest playoff shotblocker, Natasha Howard.
- After being outdone in Game 1 off the bench, the Storm’s second unit dominated the Lynx’s, outscoring them 21-8 in Game 2. Sami Whitcomb and Mercedes Russell led the charge with 15 of those points combined.
- Jewell Loyd led the Storm in scoring for the second straight game to open the playoffs, scoring 20. Loyd is shooting 73.7% from the field during the playoffs, and she led the Storm in scoring six times in 22 regular-season games.
- The Storm got to the line 18 times, missing only one free throw. Breanna Stewart was responsible for a majority of those points, going 9-for-9 from the charity stripe.
- Seattle widened their lead to 21 points in the third quarter, the largest lead at any point in a Storm playoff game since Game 1 of the 2018 WNBA Finals.