Breanna Stewart Scores Team-High 18 Points; Seattle’s Record Stands at 9-15
MINNEAPOLIS – In its final game before the month-long Olympic break, the Seattle Storm lost 79-72 to the defending champion Minnesota Lynx on Friday at the Target Center. The Storm (9-15) remains tied for eighth in the WNBA standings with 10 games remaining.
Rookie forward Breanna Stewart paced Seattle with 18 points and eight rebounds, but finished just 3-for-14 from the field. Jewell Loyd and Sue Bird added 16 points apiece for the Storm, which never led in Friday’s contest. Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles scored 21 and 20 points for the Lynx, respectively.
Minnesota, second in the league with a 21-4 record, improved to 3-0 this year against the Storm. The two teams will meet again on Aug. 28 at the Target Center.
The Storm kept it close in the early going, as Minnesota led 11-9 at the 3:30 mark in the first quarter. But a three-pointer by Keisha Hampton broke the tie and started a 12-4 run for the Lynx, who were sparked by eight first-quarter points from Fowles. The reigning Finals MVP was dominant in the paint, going 3-for-3 from the field and hitting both of her free throws in the opening frame. Minnesota held a 23-13 lead at the end of the first, aided by six early turnovers from the Storm.
After a pair of Moore free throws, the Storm scored the next half dozen points as part of a 14-4 run to pull within two midway through the second quarter. Bird’s second three-pointer in a two-minute span cut it to 29-27 in favor of the Lynx. Fowles continued to score at will for Minnesota, but it remained a one or two-possession game the rest of the half and the Lynx took a 38-36 edge into the locker room. Fowles finished the half with 14 points on 6-for-6 shooting, while Stewart led the Storm with 11 points.
Loyd knocked down a pair of jumpers, including one from beyond the arc, to keep the Storm within striking distance early in the third quarter. The reigning Rookie of the Year hit another trey to cut Minnesota’s lead to 54-49, but the Lynx proceeded to close the period on a 10-2 run that featured six free throws by Moore. Their lead was 64-51 heading into the fourth quarter.
The strong run for Minnesota extended to 14-2 at the start of the fourth, and the lead was 17 before Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis nailed a three-pointer for Seattle. Stewart was aggressive in the quarter and spent plenty of time at the charity stripe, going 6-for-6 at the line to help the Storm slowly cut into the deficit. It was trimmed to single digits with 2:48 remaining, but Seattle never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
After the Olympic break, Seattle will return to action on Aug. 26 at KeyArena against the league-leading Los Angeles Sparks.