Lynx try to silence the Storm once again
By NOEY KUPCHAN,
The reigning WNBA champions Minnesota Lynx are off to the best start in league history.
A pair of matchups with the Seattle Storm have helped them get there.
Undefeated Minnesota tries for a fifth consecutive victory over the Storm as the teams meet at Key Arena for the first time this season Sunday night.
Lindsay Whalen posted a season-high 29 points and fellow guard Seimone Augustus scored 14 as the Lynx continued their recent domination Friday, becoming the first team to start 10-0 with a 78-60 rout at Phoenix.
“We’re excited about that,” coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We’re not a team that talks about records, but when it got to be nine we thought, ‘What the hell? Let’s embrace this thing and take our place in history.’ We’re happy to be the only team to start off 10-0.”
Outscoring opponents by a WNBA-best average of 14.2 points, Minnesota is controlling almost every facet of the game. The Lynx rank first in the league in field-goal percentage (51.2), opponents field-goal percentage (37.9) and are outrebounding teams by a Western Conference-leading 7.2 boards per contest.
Unfortunately for the Storm (2-7), they know all too well how well the Lynx are playing.
After falling 84-71 on May 27, Seattle’s losing streak in this series reached four with an embarrassing 79-55 defeat June 6. The Storm, who were outscored 25-8 in the first quarter, were limited to just 33.3 percent shooting and failed to take advantage of the Lynx playing without an injured Augustus.
“Clearly, we didn’t play well both times we’ve played against them,” seven-time All-Star Sue Bird said. “They were able to take advantage. They played very well. Sometimes when you’re missing a player, such as Seimone, people tend to step up. I think they had a lot of players do that. They just played very well.”
Augustus also missed a 93-73 victory at Tulsa on June 9 due to a strained quad but shot 6 for 13 – including 2 for 4 from 3-point range – versus the Mercury.
“It feels good,” Augustus, who leads Minnesota with 18.1 points per game, said of her injury. “It’s still giving me a little bit of trouble, but the more I play on it, the faster I’ll be able to get back into the flow of my game.”
Seattle, meanwhile, is coming off its second victory of the season – both of which have come against the winless Shock. After scoring a combined 18 points while making just 6 of 31 shots in her previous three games, Bird broke out with 21 on 9 of 12 shooting during Friday’s 86-73 win.
“Sue Bird showed tonight why she’s the best point guard in the world,” Shock coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “She’s been struggling lately but she got healthy against us.”
Bird has been limited to a combined 12 points while going 4 for 19 from the field versus the Lynx this season.
Seattle continues to play without three-time league MVP Lauren Jackson as she prepares for this summer’s Olympics for her native Australia.
Minnesota’s 13 consecutive regular-season wins and 10 straight road victories are both franchise records.