Lynx 73, Storm 71
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Teresa Edwards' eight assists vs. the Storm tied her career high.
David Sherman, WNBAE/Getty Images
Minnesota guard Katie Smith
sank the game-winning jumper as time expired, marking just the third game in franchise history
that the Lynx have won with a basket in the closing seconds. Smith finished with 15 points, coming off a season-low seven-point performance Tuesday at Houston. She also went 2-for-7 from three-point range tonight, extending her WNBA-record string of consecutive games with a made trey to 32. Smith ranks fourth in the league in scoring (19.6 ppg), and is also among the top 10 in all three shooting categories.
Minnesota extended its franchise-record home winning streak
to six with tonight's victory, picking up its second Target Center win over Seattle in the last two weeks (69-58 on July 20). The Lynx pull into a third-place tie with Seattle (14-11) in the Western Conference playoff race, but have clinched the tiebreaker by virtue of their 3-0 record against the Storm this summer. Minnesota opens up an 8-4 advantage in the all-time series
, including 5-1 at home. The teams will complete their season set next Friday at KeyArena, where the Lynx posted a 77-72 triumph on June 14.
Tonight's loss was Seattle's fourth straight on the road, dating to a 67-65 decision at Connecticut on July 17. The Storm slip to 5-9 away from KeyArena, suffering only their second loss in six games decided by less than five points this year (77-74 OT vs. Los Angeles, May 30). On the other hand, Seattle has won a club-record six in a row at home, and opens a three-game homestand on Wednesday against the Sparks. The Storm need three more victories to match last year's total, when they went 17-15 and earned their first-ever playoff berth.
The Lynx have now won seven of their last 10 games overall, pulling to within 1.5 games of second-place Houston (15-9 after tonight's win over San Antonio) and 3.5 games of Western-leading Los Angeles (18-8 after losing to Charlotte tonight). Minnesota also increases its lead to a full game over fifth-place Sacramento (13-12); the Monarchs host Connecticut on Sunday night. The Lynx are 10-4 this season at Target Center, climbing to .500 all-time at home (39-39)
, and are just one victory shy of matching the franchise single-season mark (15-17 in both 1999 and 2000).
Seattle was limited to 34.3% shooting tonight, its lowest percentage since a 33.3% outing vs. Los Angeles on May 30. The Storm's season low is 31.3%, set at San Antonio on May 24. Entering tonight's contest, Seattle had been hitting at a 49.1% clip in its previous four outings, topped by a season-high 54.7% effort vs. Phoenix on July 25. The Storm had also connected on 52.6% (20-for-38) of their three-point attempts in that four-game stretch, but finished 4-for-14 this evening.
Minnesota has now held 10 of its last 15 opponents below 40% from the floor, including Seattle's 35.7% effort on July 20 at Target Center. The Lynx are 10-5 in that span, and are giving up a combined 39.2%. Seattle entered the game ranked third in the WNBA in field-goal accuracy, trailing only Detroit and Minnesota.
The Lynx matched a season high by handing out 23 assists tonight, the fourth time this year they've hit that total. The franchise single-game mark is 25, set vs. Indiana on Aug. 6, 2000. Guard Teresa Edwards
was credited with a career-high-tying eight assists equaling the Storm's team output for the evening, which is a season low.
Lynx center Janell Burse
posted the first point/rebound double-double of her career with 20 points and a career-high 12 rebounds (along with four blocks) against Seattle. It's the second 20-point effort in her last four games (a career-high 21 vs. San Antonio, July 25), while the 12 rebounds are a season high for any Minnesota player. Burse has started the past five games, averaging 13.4 ppg (on 58.0% shooting), 8.4 rpg and 2.60 bpg in that stretch.
Seattle forward Lauren Jackson finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds, her fourth consecutive point/rebound double-double (seventh this season, 16th career). On Thursday, she registered just the fifth 20/20 game in WNBA history, tallying 23 points and 20 rebounds in a 69-54 win over Charlotte. Jackson saw her club-record string of seven straight 20-point nights ended this evening. Still, she leads the league in scoring at 20.9 ppg, having poured in a career-high 30 points in Seattle's last visit to Target Center (July 20).