Sept. 10, 2004
Lynx 64, Storm 61
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Minnesota concluded the Target Center portion of its 2004 schedule with tonight's victory, tying the franchise single-season mark for home victories (set a year ago) by finishing 11-6. The win stopped a three-game home losing streak that began with a 70-55 setback to Seattle on July 30, and included narrow losses to Indiana (69-61 on Sept. 3) and Charlotte (72-68 on Wednesday). The Lynx embark on a season-ending four-game road trip beginning Saturday night in Charlotte.
Minnesota finished 1-2 against the Storm this year (losing 88-85 on Opening Night at KeyArena) to take a 9-7 lead in the all-time series. Four of the clubs' last five meetings have been decided by three points or less, a run that began with the Lynx' 73-71 buzzer-beating win last Aug. 2 at Target Center. Minnesota improves to 6-2 this year in one-possession games (three points or fewer), while Seattle slips to 4-5. The Lynx' "magic number" to reach the 2004 playoffs (Minnesota wins + Sacramento losses) falls to three.
The loss dropped Seattle to 1-4 in September, and momentarily prevented the Storm from clinching their second postseason berth in the past three years. At 18-12, Seattle's lead over the Lynx (17-13) in the race for homecourt advantage in the Western Conference playoffs has dwindled to one game, with Phoenix (16-13) just 1.5 games back. The Storm, who've lost three straight away from KeyArena, continue their three-game road trip with stops in Connecticut (Sunday) and Indiana (Monday).
Seattle took its biggest lead of the game at 42-33 with 15:51 remaining, before the Lynx erupted for 17 unanswered points to pull ahead by eight. That's the longest consecutive scoring run ever for Minnesota, eclipsing a 16-0 first-half burst vs. Detroit on June 12, 1999 (the first regular-season contest in franchise history). Meanwhile, the Storm enjoyed separate scoring runs of 14-1 and 13-3 in tonight's game.
Minnesota overcame a season-high 26 turnovers to win, the eighth time this year they've committed 20+ miscues and just one shy of the club single-game record (27 vs. Phoenix, June 27, 2003). The 26 TOs equal the most ever forced by Seattle (vs. Utah, June 18, 2000), while the Storm's 16 steals also match a franchise record (at Utah, June 25, 2001). On the flipside, Seattle committed a season-high-tying 21 TOs (also June 5 at Sacramento), after averaging just 11.2 miscues in its previous five outings.
The Lynx' nine blocked shots tied a club record set originally vs. Phoenix on Aug. 2, 2002. Nicole Ohlde had three of the blocks (extending her franchise single-season mark to 42), while Vanessa Hayden and Amanda Lassiter added two each. Minnesota ranks third in the WNBA in blocks at 4.17 per game (trailing Los Angeles and Detroit), and needs three more to break the club single-season record (127 in 2002).
Seattle outrebounded Minnesota 28-27, the sixth consecutive game the Lynx have come up short. They're facing an average deficit of -3.3 rpg in that stretch, after being outboarded in only one of their previous eight contests. The Storm, who piled up a 36-30 advantage on July 30 at Target Center, have now outboarded five of their last seven opponents and rank third in the WNBA in rebounding margin (+2.9 rpg).
Minnesota limited Seattle to 39.3% shooting, including just 2-for-12 (16.7%) from three-point range. The Storm entered the contest having hit 51.4% (37-for-72) of their trey attempts over the previous five contests, and continue to lead the WNBA in that category at 38.0% overall. Meanwhile, the Lynx rank first in three-point percentage defense, holding opponents to 27.3% from beyond the arc. The league single-season record is 26.9%, set by New York in 1999.
Teresa Edwards led all scorers with 18 points, bettering her previous WNBA high of 17 set at Seattle on May 20. Nicole Ohlde reached double figures for the fourth consecutive game, scoring 16 points; she's averaging 16.0 ppg (on 48.9% shooting) in September. Helen Darling finished with a career-high 10 assists, the second-highest total in Lynx history (Andrea Lloyd Curry dealt 11 at Charlotte on July 21, 1999).