Storm falls to Lynx in season opener

Nneka Ogwumike finished with 20 points and nine rebounds to pace Seattle’s offense

SEATTLE – Nneka Ogwumike had no trouble finding the hoop in her Seattle Storm debut on Tuesday night.

But most of her teammates had a much tougher time.

Ogwumike scored 20 points on 10-of-18 shooting, but the Minnesota Lynx went on an 11-0 run early in the fourth quarter and beat the Storm in the WNBA opener for both teams in Climate Pledge Arena, 83-70.

Ogwumike, signed last February as a free agent, also pulled down nine rebounds.

Ezi Magbegor added 15 points on 5-of-10 accuracy and grabbed matched Ogwumike with nine boards for Seattle. Skylar Diggins-Smith tallied 10 points and dished six assists in her Storm debut, but hit just 4 of 13. Jewell Loyd also had 10 points and made it a double-double with 10 rebounds, but shot 3 of 19.

Collectively, Seattle drained just 29 of 78 (37.2 percent) and 1 of 9 (11.1 percent) from 3-point range.  Minnesota shot at a 45.3 percent clip (34 of 75) and was 7 of 24 (29.2 percent) downtown.

“I think generally, offensively we had now flow,” head coach Noelle Quinn said. “We had no ball reversals. We made it easy for Minnesota defensively. Offensively we weren’t in sync.”

“This is a new team and though yes, we have excellent players on this roster, it takes time,” Quinn added. “Thank God one day doesn’t determine the totality of what a team will be. What it showed is we have a lot of work to do. That will come as we build through games.”

The Storm started out well enough, hitting 10 of 21 and putting 28 points on the board during the first quarter. They used a 6-0 run to start the second period to forge their biggest lead of the night at 34-26 before the Lynx took a 45-44 edge into halftime.

A 7-2 burst early in the third put the Storm back on top, 54-49. Minnesota then put eight straight on the board for a 57-54 advantage and never trailed again.

Still, Seattle was within one at 63-62 on a short jumper by Diggins-Smith with 9:10 left in the game. That’s when the Lynx broke it open with their 11 straight points. Collier supplied nine of those 11 for a 74-62 advantage as Seattle went scoreless for 3 minutes 45 seconds before Ogwumike scored on her own putback with 5:25 left.

The Lynx then answered with six in a row to make it 80-74, effectively putting it away. They outscored the Storm during the final quarter, 20-10.

“It was like a culmination of a lot of moments when we didn’t really have it together,” Ogwumike said. “It was more of those moments kind of stacked on each other in the fourth quarter. They were more aggressive in that quarter – in my opinion, that’s what it felt like.

Minnesota got 22 points from Alanna Smith on 8 of 15 shooting. Collier, who had 33, 31, and 24 points against the Storm last season, wound up with 20 and logged a double-double with 12 rebounds.

“It’s a game of four quarters, so it’s just figuring out how you sustain those good moments and figuring out how to stay aggressive,” Magbegor said. “We obviously didn’t do that tonight. It’s not about how you start a game. You have to continue that for four quarters.”

Seattle is now 13-12 all-time in season openers.


The Storm and Lynx match up again on Friday in Minneapolis for Minnesota’s home opener. Tip-off is at 6:30 p.m Pacific time (ION TV)

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