By Seth Dahle
Saturday’s matchup between Seattle and Minnesota at KeyArena is sure to be a good one, as the top two teams from the latest Associated Press (AP) Power Poll hit the hardwood at 6 p.m. PDT.
Head coach Jenny Boucek said the team is excited for the opportunity to play against the best.
“We want to see if we can match them for 40 minutes,” said Boucek. “They’re an elite team, and in order to battle with them, we’ve got to compete at an elite level for 40 minutes. They don’t take games off, and they don’t take plays off. It’s a battle of extreme toughness, both physically and mentally.”
The Storm is coming off a 94-70 win over Indiana on Sunday, as the team tied a franchise record for single-game field goal percentage (61.4). Alysha Clark made her first nine shots on the way to a season-high 22 points, while Jewell Loyd (13), Breanna Stewart (12) and Crystal Langhorne (12) also scored in double figures.
Seattle used big runs to shut the Fever down and win its fourth straight at home. After the Fever pulled to within four (18-14), Clark netted four straight points to spark a 17-8 run, and the Storm later turned a 12-point, third-quarter lead into a 19-point blowout with a 7-0 run to pull away.
As of Wednesday, Seattle leads the league in field goal percentage (49.8) and is second in free throw percentage (87.4).
After facing Minnesota on Saturday, the Storm will hit the road for three straight, beginning with San Antonio on June 6 at 5 p.m. PDT.
AT A GLANCE: LYNX
The Lynx come to KeyArena with a perfect 6-0 record and No. 1 ranking in the most recent AP Power Poll.
In its last time out on Sunday, Minnesota took down San Antonio, 80-66, at the Xcel Energy Center. Fowles collected her fourth double-double of the season, notching 14 points and 12 points to lead four Lynx players in double figures. After falling behind by seven, Minnesota netted 12 unanswered and later outscored the Stars, 46-17, in the second and third quarters combined to pull away.
Minnesota’s ‘big three’ includes Sylvia Fowles, who’s averaging a double-double with 20 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. She’s shooting 61.1 percent and also records 2.3 blocks per game. Maya Moore is an all-around threat with 13.3 points, seven rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, while Seimone Augustus chalks up 12.2 points, 3.5 boards and 3.2 dimes per affair.
As a team, Minnesota averages 81.8 points per game and is shooting at a 43.2 percent clip. The Lynx also lead the WNBA in assists per game with 20, as Lindsay Whalen dishes out a team-high 5.2 per contest.
Minnesota enters the contest leading the all-time series by a 35-28 margin. However, Seattle has posted a 20-11 record vs. the Lynx at KeyArena.
The Storm has lost four straight to Minnesota, with its last win coming on Sept. 11, 2015 (78-64). The team is 1-8 vs. the Lynx over the last two seasons. Three years ago, Minnesota entered KeyArena with a 7-0 record before the Storm snapped the streak, defeating Minnesota, 65-62, on June 6, 2014.
Saturday’s matchup should also be a high-scoring affair. Seattle is currently averaging 83.8 points per game compared to Minnesota’s 81.8, which rank third and fourth best, respectively, in the WNBA.
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