MINNEAPOLIS — Everything was familiar for Shaunzinski Gortman when the Storm played at Minnesota on Wednesday. The visitors' locker room was once the home locker room, back when she played for the Lynx from 2002-03. She bopped to her gospel music before the game while sitting in front of her old locker.
And when the game started, she was in a familiar spot on the bench, waiting for her turn to play.
With the Storm leading just 54-51 after three quarters and Lynx guard Seimone Augustus, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, accounting for 26 of her team's points, Donovan put Gortman in the game to ruffle the rookie.
Gortman put Augustus on mute.
After an open jump shot with 3:19 remaining in the game, Augustus didn't score again behind Gortman's coverage — often not even touching the ball on Minnesota's possessions — as Seattle collected a 74-66 win at the Target Center.
Augustus had a career-high 32 points on 13-of-26 shooting, but was a modest 3 for 7 in the fourth quarter. The next highest Lynx scorers, Adrian Williams and Kristen Mann (eight points each), finished with six and five attempts, respectively.
"Defense is my specialty," said Gortman. "There's not anyone in the league that I feel like I can't guard. Sometimes I watch the game and I'll be like, 'Oh, you know, if I get in the game, I can guard her.' I know different ways. I just watch my teammates and try to figure out ways to guard people. I just have to remind myself to stay focused. If coach calls my name, then I go in and try to do a great job."
The 5-foot-10 Gortman's advantage against the 6-foot Augustus was her lanky arms. With 1:29 remaining in the fourth quarter, she hovered around Augustus on defense and tipped away a pass, racing for an easy layin to make the score 70-61.
Minnesota (4-5) immediately called a timeout to regroup.
"Seattle did a good job of getting out and pressuring our wings, making passes difficult," Lynx coach Suzie McConnell Serio said. "We looked like spectators out there."
The Storm (5-5) started the game hot to build an eight-point lead. But as it did in the second half of a loss to Indiana on Sunday, Seattle let the advantage get away.
Augustus opened the third quarter by scoring 15 straight Minnesota points to tie the score at 46.
An 8-0 run capped by guard Betty Lennox's jumper with 4:56 remaining gave the Storm enough of a cushion (64-55) against any more Augustus highlights. But thanks to Gortman, the team didn't have to worry.
"Shaun's the last guard sub, so she waited, she waited, she waited, and when her number was called, she stepped out there and got the job done," said Storm center Tiffani Johnson, who finished with a season-high 13 points off the bench. "And we really needed it down the stretch."
The Storm, which snapped a three-game road losing streak, is 1-2 on its five-game trip and will play the expansion Chicago Sky tonight. Forward Lauren Jackson, who played 30 minutes against Minnesota, said she's fine to play a back-to-back despite getting kicked in her left shin during the game.
"We needed this win so badly, I can't even explain it," said Jackson, who had eight points. "It was daunting coming on this road trip, but now we have a chance of finishing it at 3-2. Everything is starting to come together slowly."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com