Postgame Notes: July 30, 2004

Storm 70, Lynx 55
Target Center

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Minnesota saw its six-game home winning streak ended with tonight's 70-55 defeat, losing for the first time at Target Center since June 27, when Los Angeles claimed an 83-67 victory. The streak was one shy of a franchise record; the Lynx ran off seven in a row at home last summer (July 8-Aug. 4). Minnesota slips to 10-4 at home, but remains tied with Seattle (10-2) and L.A. (10-1) for the WNBA's most home victories in 2004. The Lynx finish the regular season by playing six of their final nine away from Target Center, starting Sunday at Detroit.

Prior to tonight's setback, the Lynx had notched nine wins in their previous 11 outings; the two losses were by a combined six points (58-56 at Indiana, July 8; 65-61 at Washington, July 23). Minnesota went 8-3 (.727) in July, the most successful month in franchise history. They'd won eight games once previously (8-5 in June 2000), while the best winning percentage came in August 2001 (5-3, .625).

Seattle rebounded from an 80-55 loss Tuesday at Houston to gain a split of its two-game road trip. The 25-point defeat at the Toyota Center was the Storm's first double-digit loss this year, and also stopped a five-game winning streak. They're now 8-1 in games decided by 10+ points, matching Phoenix for the WNBA's best record in that category (Minnesota slips to 4-7). The win was only Seattle's second in its last six road starts (6-6 overall). The Storm return to KeyArena on Sunday to host Charlotte.

Tonight's victory allows Seattle to clinch the season series against Minnesota, having already posted an 88-85 triumph on Opening Night (May 20) at KeyArena. The Lynx and Storm finished 2003 tied for fourth in the Western Conference at 18-16, but Minnesota claimed the final playoff berth due to its 3-1 head-to-head edge vs. Seattle. The clubs will complete this year's three-game set Sept. 10 at Target Center.

Tonight's final 15-point spread was the largest ever between Minnesota and Seattle; the previous three meetings had each been decided by three points or fewer, including the Lynx' buzzer-beating 73-71 home win last Aug. 2. Tonight's victory was the Storm's first at Target Center since their first-ever visit (67-60 on July 5, 2000), ending a five-game drought. The Lynx still lead the all-time series by an 8-7 margin.

The Storm held Minnesota to a season-low 29.3%; it's the eighth time in franchise history they've finished below 30% from the floor, and the first since a 26.9% outing at Sacramento on Aug. 7, 2001. The Lynx suffered through five sub-30% nights that year, including the club-record low of 20.0% vs. Houston on July 23, 2001. Minnesota's previous low in 2004 was a 31.0% effort at L.A. on June 11.

Seattle outrebounded the Lynx 36-32, topped by Simone Edwards' season-high nine-board performance. The Storm improve to 10-4 with the rebound advantage, while Minnesota slips to 1-9 when coming up short. It's just the second time in nine games the Lynx have been outboarded; they were paced by Svetlana Abrosimova's season-high nine rebounds.

The Lynx were led by Vanessa Hayden's 12 points (tying her season best originally set July 3 vs. Detroit), which helped Minnesota compile a 30-10 advantage in bench scoring. Hayden also blocked a season-high four shots in 20 minutes; she leads the WNBA in blocks per 40 minutes (3.51), moving ahead of Lisa Leslie (3.42) in that category.

Betty Lennox pumped in 17 of her season-high 23 points in the second half, topping 20 for the second time this year (20 vs. Los Angeles, May 22) and leading Seattle in scoring for the third time. Lennox, the WNBA's Rookie of the Year in 2000 for Minnesota, entered tonight averaging just 7.2 ppg (on 34.2% shooting) in nine previous July contests. She tallied 18 points and a season-high 10 rebounds in the May 20 meeting at KeyArena.

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