Lynx beat Storm 75-60, clinch tie for West title
Even as they've won six games in a row, Rebekkah Brunson and the Minnesota Lynx are making sure they don't get too far ahead of themselves.
Brunson scored 19 points to help the Lynx beat the Seattle Storm 75-60 on Saturday night, clinching at least a tie for the Western Conference title.
''We're not thinking about any streaks,'' Brunson said. ''I didn't even realize that we had won six in a row. We're just trying to fine-tune ourselves and get ready for the playoffs. We're getting better, fixing the small things we need to, and we're in a pretty good place.''
Seimone Augustus had 14 points, Maya Moore added 11 and Lindsay Whalen 10 to lead Minnesota (24-7), which can secure its third straight conference title outright with its next win or loss by second-place Los Angeles.
''It's weird hearing that we've won six in a row. It doesn't feel like it,'' Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. ''It doesn't feel like that long ago when we lost three in a row. It's more of a testament to how we're staying in the moment, not reading our clippings, and just really moving on to the next task.''
Minnesota's next task is another matchup against the Storm here Tuesday night and then the Lynx visit the Sparks on Thursday. Minnesota and Los Angeles have split teams' previous four meetings this season.
''Every little victory is celebrated,'' Moore said. ''We definitely know we're a step closer, and we're going to use that as momentum to give us that much more motivation for this next game.''
Tanisha Wright scored 17 of her 22 points in the first half for Seattle (15-16). Shekinna Stricklen added 12 points.
The Storm, who are assured of a postseason spot, can catch Phoenix for the No. 3 seed, but now trail the Mercury by two games with three left. If Seattle finishes fourth, it will likely face the Lynx - a team the Storm are 0-3 against this season - in a best-of-3 first-round series.
''I don't know if we really played the way we have to play to beat this team,'' Storm coach Brian Agler said. ''Minnesota has proven to be the best team in the league right now. So we're going to have to keep getting better.''
The Lynx used a 10-0 run in the first quarter to turn two-point deficit to a 19-11 lead. They extended the advantage to 34-16 in the second quarter.
However, Seattle closed the first half with a 17-6 run over the final 6 minutes to pull to 40-33 at the break.
Minnesota pushed the lead back to 15 by the end of the third quarter, and led by 18 in the fourth.
The Lynx, led by Brunson's 7-for-12 performance, shot 46 percent from the field (31 for 67) and limited the Storm to just 36 percent (21 for 59). Seattle was just 2 of 16 from 3-point range.
''Seattle is particularly good at yanking 3s, and at our place, we were caught in rotation constantly,'' Reeve said. ''They made extra passes and got any 3-ball they wanted, so I thought tonight, we had a better focus on trying to keep their penetration under control so we could get our rotations.''