Perfect Minnesota smashes Storm
Despite missing Seimone Augustus, the Lynx improve to 8-0 and keep Seattle winless (0-4) on the road with an easy 79-55 victory at Target Center.
Seattle Times staff reporter
MINNEAPOLIS — The mumbling is reaching a crescendo.
The Storm (1-5) can't win without Lauren Jackson. That's what media in every city has said in unison with Seattle fans and unbiased observers. Glance over Seattle's box score from a 79-55 loss at unbeaten Minnesota on Wednesday and it's hard to argue.
In black-and-white were the only statistics you needed to know. The Storm was outscored 32-18 in the paint. Minnesota center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, the oldest player in the WNBA at 41, was 8 for 8 for a game-high 17 points. Including the Storm's loss to the Lynx (8-0) in May, Seattle has been trampled 62-36 inside by Minnesota this season.
If Jackson, a 6-foot-6 three-time MVP were there, it wouldn't have happened, right?
"To me it's kind of a silly question on both sides," Storm point guard Sue Bird said recently in response to talk about the team needing Jackson to win. She's training with her Australian national team in preparation for the upcoming London Olympic Games. Seattle's all-time leading scorer is expected to return in August.
"Anybody would be better with Lauren," Bird continued. "(But) Lauren would be new to this as well, and you don't know what it would be like. As great as she is, she's not like some magic potion where she gets added and things all of a sudden click with everybody."
Minnesota defeated Seattle 3-1 in its series last season with Jackson in the lineup. And in defense of its championship this year, the Storm was simply the eighth win in the Lynx's pursuit of surpassing the WNBA record of nine wins to start the season, set by Los Angeles in 2001 and 2003.
The Lynx, playing without star Seimone Augustus (strained quad), shot 54.7 percent from the field and the only flaw was giving up a 14-8 advantage on second-chance points to the Storm.
"With or without (Lauren), we still shouldn't be losing like this," said forward Tina Thompson, who had eight points off the bench.
"The reality of the situation is we need to be better. We're too nice. We're nice people and it has absolutely nothing to do with basketball. When you're a nice person on the basketball court, people don't pat you on the back for that, they take advantage of you."
The Lynx outscored the Storm 25-8 in the opening quarter. Seattle closed to 48-43 in the third quarter after a pair of free throws from guard Tanisha Wright, but then went on an eight-minute drought and eventually fell behind 73-46 with six minutes left.
Resting his stars, Storm coach Brian Agler saw no need to put them back in. Forward Victoria Dunlap returned from a concussion and her performance was the only highlight Agler mentioned. She finished with seven points and five rebounds.
"I don't know any other way to explain (the defeat) other than we just didn't compete," said Wright, who led her team with 14 points and three assists.
Lynx 79, Storm 55
|Seattle||8||22||11||14 — 55|
|Minnesota||25||18||18||18 — 79|