Lynx 69, Storm 58
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Katie Smith is averaging 24.1 ppg in her last seven games. (Lynx photo)
Minnesota recorded its franchise-record fourth consecutive home win
with tonight's 11-point decision, improving to 8-4 overall at Target Center. The Lynx had won three straight at home on two previous occasions, once in 1999 and again last season. The eight home victories already equals the most ever by Minnesota at home; they'd gone 8-8 at Target Center in both 1999 and 2000.
The Lynx have now won seven of their last 10 overall to climb into a third-place tie with Seattle (11-9) in the Western Conference playoff race. It equals their best record in club history after 20 games (11-9 in 1999). With tonight's win, Minnesota surpasses last year's victory total (10-22); the franchise high is 15, set in both 1999 and 2000.
The Storm ended a three-game road trip 1-2, starting with Thursday's 67-65 win at Connecticut before dropping a 74-61 decision at Detroit on Friday. It's the first time Seattle has suffered back-to-back losses since opening the season 0-3. The Storm are now 5-7 on the road, but will play six of their next eight at KeyArena, beginning Wednesday afternoon against New York. At 11-9, Seattle slips one game behind second-place Houston (12-8) and five in back of Los Angeles (16-4) in the West.
Minnesota has beaten the Storm three straight times, including twice this year (77-72 at KeyArena on June 14). The Lynx are now 7-4 all-time vs. Seattle
, having won the last four Target Center meetings. The clubs square off twice more this summer, Aug. 2 in Minnesota and Aug. 8 in Seattle.
The Lynx shot 54.8% from the floor tonight, the second-highest percentage in franchise history (55.6% at Miami, May 28, 2002). It's Minnesota's fifth 50%+ effort in the last nine games (seventh on the season); they're shooting a combined 48.7% over the last nine. The Lynx continue to lead the WNBA in field-goal accuracy at 45.3%; the club single-season record is 42.1%, set in 2000.
Meanwhile, Seattle was limited to 35.7%, its lowest percentage since hitting 33.3% vs. Los Angeles on May 30. The Storm finished below 40% in all three games of its just-completed road trip. In addition, Seattle's 58-point effort was its second-lowest total of the season (56 at San Antonio, May 24). The Lynx have now kept seven of their last 10 opponents under 40% (a combined 39.5%); they're 7-1 this year when the opposition shoots less than 40%.
Minnesota outrebounded the Storm 27-23, the 10th time in 14 games they've held the edge and the third straight game Seattle has come up short. The Lynx improve to 10-2 when outboarding the opposition, while the Storm slip to 4-7 when facing a deficit. Minnesota ranks third in the WNBA in rebounding margin at +1.9 rpg, trailing only Detroit (+4.9) and Cleveland (+3.3).
led the Lynx with 19 points, snapping her club-record-tying string of six consecutive 20+ outings. She's averaging 24.1 ppg (on 55.6% shooting) over the last seven games, and is at 20.2 ppg on the season. Smith also grabbed a game-high six rebounds; she's averaging 5.5 rpg in the last 10.
Minnesota forward Sheri Sam
finished with 16 points, her sixth double-figure effort in the last seven; she's averaging 14.1 ppg (48.1%) in those seven games. In addition, Sam handed out a career-high eight assists vs. Seattle. Lynx forward Tamika Williams
went 4-for-5 from the floor tonight, upping her league-leading field-goal percentage to 70.3%, and center Michele Van Gorp
tallied 13 points in her first start of the season.
Seattle's Lauren Jackson poured in a career-high 30 points tonight, surpassing her previous best of 27 (set on three occasions, most recently June 7 vs. Phoenix). The Storm's franchise single-game record is 33 points, held by Sue Bird (Aug. 9, 2002 vs. Portland). Jackson is scoring at a 22.5 ppg clip over the last six, edging in front of Katie Smith for the top spot on the WNBA's scoring chart at 20.3 ppg. Jackson scored 20 of Seattle's 24 points in the second half, including the final 12. She also tied a franchise record by making 11 free throws.
Storm guard Sue Bird was scoreless in just three minutes this evening, leaving the contest with 17:12 remaining in the first half and not returning. Bird, who's been hampered by a sore left knee throughout the season, aggravated the injury in Friday's loss at Detroit. She's listed as day to day.
Lynx forward Svetlana Abrosimova
missed the game due to a strained right hamstring, suffered during Thursday's loss in Cleveland. Guard Kristi Harrower
missed her third straight game following oral surgery.