STORM HOLDS OFF MINNESOTA TO ADVANCE TO SECOND ROUND
EVERETT, Wash. – Jordin Canada scored a career-high 26 points in her first WNBA playoff start and the Seattle Storm held off the four-time WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx, 84-74, in the first single-elimination playoff round.
Seattle assumed control in the second minute and would lead by as many as 14 the rest of the way, though Minnesota got within one possession early in the fourth quarter. With a trio of All-Defensive Team selections announced Tuesday morning, the defending champions relied on defense down the stretch to close out the game.
Canada was not the only young star on display, as Minnesota rookie Napheesa Collier finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds in her postseason debut.
After Canada put the Storm on the scoreboard with a three-pointer – her first since July 17 against Minnesota – Jewell Loyd followed with back-to-back triples to ignite a 10-0 Storm run. The starting backcourt duo combined for 22 of the Storm’s 29 first-quarter points.
Sami Whitcomb opened second frame scoring from three-point range and Kaleena Mosqqueda-Lewis converted an and-one play to push the Storm ahead by 14. With under three to play in the half, two-time WNBA Finals MVP Sylvia Fowles sparked a 9-2 stretch to cut the Storm’s lead to six. Damiris Dantas and Loyd entered the locker room with 15 points each.
Nine points from Collier late in the third fueled an 11-2 Lynx run, putting Minnesota within one possession of their hosts. After a Whitcomb dagger widened the gap back to 10 in the fourth, Minnesota responded with six straight points before a timeout with 5:44 to play.
Coming out of the break, Minnesota incurred a shot clock violation, the first of eight Lynx turnovers down the stretch. With the defense dialed in, the Storm went 9-of-12 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to keep the Lynx at bay.
Next up, the Storm heads to Los Angeles for the second single-elimination round, seeking to avenge a recent 34-point loss at STAPLES Center.
KEY STATS OF THE GAME
- With the win, the Storm improves to 9-11 in potential elimination games. All nine wins have come at home.
- Jordin Canada led all scorers with 26 points, her career high in the regular season and postseason. Her regular-season best came on Sept. 1, 2019 vs. Atlanta (21 points).
- The Storm starting backcourt of Canada andJewell Loyd outscored Minnesota’s starting guards, 48-1.
- Jewell Loyd found her rhythm early from beyond the arc connecting a perfect 3-for-3 in the first quarter. She finished the night with 22 points, including seven in the fourth quarter.
- After winning three of four contests against the Lynx in the 2019 regular season, the Storm improves to 4-4 all-time in the postseason vs. Minnesota.
- In 2019 (including playoffs), the Storm is 10-1 when Canada scores 12 or more points. Canada had 13 points at halftime tonight.
- Mercedes Russell, who had played a total of four postseason minutes in her career entering the night, finished with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting to go with a team-high nine rebounds.
- Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard contributed six assists at the opposite end of the floor, her most in her career (reg. season or postseason).
- Though Howard was held to two points, the Storm outscored the Lynx by 11 points in the 27 minutes that she was on the floor.
- The 2019 Lynx season ends with an 84-74 loss to the Seattle Storm. Tonight marked the second straight postseason falling in the opening round.
- Napheesa Collier shined in her WNBA Playoff debut, notching her first career playoff double-double with 19 points on an efficient 8-of-11 shooting and 10 rebounds. Collier added three assists and two steals.
- Collier became the second rookie in WNBA Playoff history to notch a double-double in their debut (Tamika Catchings on August 16, 2002).
- Collier became the third rookie in WNBA Playoff history to have at least 19 points and 10 rebounds in a playoff game, joining Tamika Catchings (2x in 2002) and Candace Parker (2008).
- Sylvia Fowles joined Collier with a double-double of her own as she finished with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Tonight marked the sixth time this season two Lynx teammates recorded a double-double in the same game and the eighth time in Lynx playoff history.
- Damiris Dantas scored a team-high 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and six rebounds. Dantas surpassed her previous playoff-high of two points on August 31, 2014 Minnesota at Phoenix.
- Seimone Augustus logged 21:08 minutes tonight off the bench, finishing with six points and three rebounds. Tonight marked Augustus’ 57th career playoff game, moving into sole possession of seventh place in WNBA history in playoff games played.
- Minnesota outrebounded Seattle 38-28, moving to 100-19 all-time when outboarding the opposition by double figures, including a 78-7 mark since 2011.
The Storm will travel to Los Angeles to face the Sparks in a single-elimination second round playoff game. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m./PT on ESPN2.