Storm rallies late but falls in two overtimes in Minnesota

Loyd, Diggins-Smith, and Ogwumike tally 20+ points in first road game of the season

MINNEAPOLIS – They scrambled back from 11 points down to force overtime. They battled through six lead changes to force a second overtime.

But then, the Seattle Storm got done in from downtown.

Nneka Ogwumike had 24 points plus 11 rebounds, Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 22, and Jewell Loyd tallied 20, but the Minnesota Lynx drained back-to-back daggers at the outset of the second extra period, then added another one with 1:25 left and beat the Storm in a Friday night slugfest inside the Target Center, 102-93.

Down 78-67 with 3:22 left in the fourth quarter, Seattle (0-2) closed the game on an 11-0 scoring run, with the last eight of those points coming at the free throw line. Of those eight, Loyd popped in the final three with 15.6 seconds left after being fouled by Kayla McBride on a shot behind the arc.

Following five lead changes in the first OT, and after Loyd went to the bench with her sixth foul at the 59.2-second mark. Diggins-Smith put Seattle back in front at 88-87 on a lay-in with 18.8 seconds to go.

That still left the Lynx (2-0) with plenty of time. Napheesa Collier, who finished with 29 points, was fouled while going up in traffic five feet in front of the hoop with 2.7 seconds to go. She hit the first free throw to tie it at 88-88, but missed the second. Ogwumike rebounded, but Seattle was out of timeouts, and the horn sounded, putting another fresh five minutes on the clock.

The Storm won the tip, but ultimately turned it over on the opening possession of the second OT. Collier converted on a 3-pointer from the left of the lane for a 91-88 lead. Jordan Horston’s jumper was then blocked by McBride, and the Lynx regained possession. McBride made good at the other end with a trey from the left corner and a 94-88 advantage at 3:39.

Just 10 seconds later, Diggins-Smith cut that in half with a traditional three-point play, and the Storm still had 3:29 to come closer. But they then went scoreless for the next 2 minutes, 46 seconds while Minnesota put eight straight points on the board, including a 3-pointer by Smith that effectively sealed at 99-91 with just 1:25 to go.

Friday’s fourth quarter started out almost exactly the same way as Tuesday’s fourth in Seattle. In that game, the Storm had climbed within one a 63-62 before Minnesota went on a decisive 11-0 run on the way to an 83-70 victory.

This time, after trailing by as many as 16 during the first half, Seattle came all the way back to 63-61 with 9:14 to go. The Lynx responded with another 11-0 surge, making it 74-61 at the 5:43 mark.

Still down 11 at 78-67, Loyd started the comeback with a 3-pointer on an assist from Ezi Magbegor. That was actually Seattle’s last field goal of regulation. From then on, it was all free throws: one by Ogwumike for 78-71, two by Loyd for 78-73 at 1:18, and two by Ogwumike for 78-75 at 1:00.

McBride, one of the WNBA’s best free throw shooters (87 percent last season) missed a pair with 24.1 seconds to play, leaving it a one-possession game. Then it was McBride putting pressure on Loyd when Loyd flung up a 3-pointer from straight in front. She nailed all three.

Loyd then had a good look to win it from inside the arc in the right corner with 2.5 seconds left in regulation, but the shot bounced off the rim, and McBride secured it and hung on as regulation expired.

Dominance from downtown was decisive for Minnesota, as they outscored the Storm, 39-15. The Lynx hit 23 of 30; Seattle was 5 of 20.

Both teams had trouble hanging onto the basketball, as they combined for 51 turnovers: 24 by the Storm (which the Lynx converted into 35 points) and 27 by Minnesota, (leading to 22 Seattle points).

Of those 51 combined turnovers, 38 were steals – and both teams set franchise records: 20 for the Storm (previous record was 18, which they hit twice) and 18 for the Lynx (previous record was 17). Ogwumike led Seattle with five.

Horston matched Ogwumike with 11 rebounds.


The Storm play the middle game of their three-game road trip on Sunday at Washington. Tip-off is at noon Pacific time (Fox 13+ / KZJO, Prime Video-WA).

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