Storm falls to visiting Lynx, ending home win streak
Seattle trailed by as many as 30 in the eventual 81-74 loss at KeyArena.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Indiana Fever @ Storm, 7 p.m.
Storm fans wanted dates, records and time frames.
A 22-0 deficit to start a game? Just eight points scored in a quarter? Three-time MVP Lauren Jackson finishing with single-digit points?
Surely Minnesota accomplished some improbable feat in beating Seattle 81-74 Thursday night at KeyArena. The Lynx didn't — outside of being the first visiting team since the Phoenix Mercury in 2009 to win in the building, ending Seattle's WNBA-best stretch of 18 consecutive regular-season home wins.
Otherwise, the Storm's lackluster play has happened before.
"It's a shame it had to happen here," said Jackson, who shot 4 for 12 from the field and finished with nine points and seven rebounds.
In 2010, Seattle was equally as bad in early-season road losses at Chicago and Indiana. In its loss to the Fever, the Storm tallied just seven points in the second quarter.
Later, the team would say that game sparked its season, giving an example of what it was going to take to win in the competitive WNBA.
That season ended with a championship.
Minnesota could be this summer's alarm.
Behind multiple sweeps to the hoop, the Lynx erased the Storm's KeyArena mystique with dominating post play. Minnesota (3-1) outscored Seattle 30-16 inside early. Forward Rebekkah Brunson had 18 of her team-high 22 points in the opening half. She added 13 rebounds for a fourth consecutive double-double.
"We weren't even playing set defense half the time," said Storm forward Camille Little, who was the primary guard on Brunson. "It was just a whirlwind. You can't give anybody in this league 20 points and expect to win the game."
The Storm (1-1) trailed by 30 (54-24) early in the third quarter, then took off on a 45-21 surge to get within 75-69 with 29 seconds to play. But from that point, Minnesota hit 6 of 6 from the free-throw line to capture its first win in Seattle since 2005 — a stretch of 10 games.
Storm guard Sue Bird led the flurry, scoring 16 of her team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter. She was 4 of 7 from three-point range in the quarter.
"That was just a poor performance," Bird said. "We came back, but that doesn't mean much. But the world won't end."
It had seemed the Lynx's early-game scoring binge wouldn't, either. Minnesota jumped out to a 22-0 lead in the first quarter, forcing Storm coach Brian Agler to call two quick timeouts to try and get his veteran team focused.
Nothing worked. Seattle shot an icy 28.1 percent from the field and was down 50-24 at halftime.
"Message sent and delivered," said Storm forward Swin Cash, who had with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists. "We have to be a lot more physical. They were getting too many easy cuts, easy baskets ... it was open. Usually we have two or three people challenging shots, and we didn't have that. We were a little slow-footed."
The KeyArena crowd didn't help, either. The 6,291 fans were stunned at the early showing, silenced until the fourth-quarter rally. As they trickled out, many searched for any explanation aside from reality — Seattle wasn't its championship self Thursday.
"That's the part that I hate," Little said. "We try to play hard for them and to lose here ... I just want to say I'm sorry."
• The Storm will host an open practice on Saturday from 1-3 p.m. at Edmonds-Woodway High. Fans will be able to meet the players.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynx 81, Storm 74
|Minnesota||28||22||14||17 — 81|
|Seattle||8||16||15||35 — 74|
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