With Lauren Jackson limited to 12 points by a sprained left thumb, the Storm saw its 13-game winning streak end with a 72-71 loss to the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday in Minneapolis.
MINNEAPOLIS — At the end, after Sue Bird’s potential game-winning jumper bounced off the rim, Lauren Jackson joined the postgame high-five line while keeping her heavily-taped left thumb as high and far away from contact as possible.
Jackson sprained the thumb midway through in the second quarter and managed only 12 points in the Storm’s 72-71 loss to Minnesota, ending the third-longest winning streak in WNBA history at 13 games.
Coach Brian Agler said X-rays showed nothing broken. It wasn’t clear whether Jackson, who was not in the locker room after the game, will play Tuesday in Tulsa.
“Hopefully, it’s nothing serious,” Bird said.
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Minnesota’s Nicky Anosike sank the second of two foul shots with 5.5 seconds to play for the deciding point as the Lynx finally beat the Storm after two close losses, by three points in Seattle on May 19 and two points here on July 17.
Both times, the Storm won after trailing entering the fourth quarter.
Sunday, the Storm nearly rallied again. Down by three points after three quarters and nine with 4:23 to play, the Storm tied the score twice on Bird jumpers in the final 78 seconds. But Anosike went to the line after grabbing a Seimone Augustus miss, and Bird could not get a 16-footer to fall.
The Lynx, who had lost five straight, moved a half-game ahead of Los Angeles for the final Western Conference playoff berth.
“We’ve been doing this all season,” said Bird, who had 16 points and 10 assists. “It’s something we’ve talked about. We’re good enough not to have to come from behind. And it’s tough — on the road, against a team who is fighting for their lives trying to make the playoffs. It was not an easy game for us.”
Jackson left the court shaking the thumb with 5:21 to play in the second quarter and sat out about 10 minutes. The Storm (22-3) trailed by two points when she came out and eight, 44-36, when she returned with 7:12 left in the third quarter.
Essentially playing one-handed, Jackson finished 4 for 12 from the field with three rebounds.
The Storm (22-3) could not contain Augustus, whose 24 points made up for her 4-for-17 shooting in the teams’ last meeting. With a short jumper early in the fourth quarter, Augustus became the second-fastest WNBA player reach to 2,500 career points, in her 119th game.
“You’re eventually going to lose some games,” Agler said. “Every team in this league is good. We’ve had the ability to finish games off. We almost did it again. Unfortunately, we didn’t make a play at the end.”
Seattle was hoping to keep pace with the 1998 Houston Comets for the best start in WNBA history at 25-2.
Percentages: FG .452, FT .833. Three-point goals: 5-18, .278 (Abrosimova 2-4, Bird 2-7, T.Wright 1-2, Vesela 0-1, Cash 0-2, Jackson 0-2). Team rebounds: 7. Team turnovers: 18 (12 PTS). Blocked shots: 5 (Bird, Cash, Jackson, Robinson, T.Wright). Turnovers: 17 (Cash 3, T.Wright 3, Abrosimova 2, Bird 2, Little 2, Robinson 2, Willingham 2, Jackson). Steals: 10 (Abrosimova 2, Bird 2, Little 2, T.Wright 2, Cash, Robinson). Technical fouls: Coach Agler, 8:02 second.
Percentages: FG .450, FT .750. Three-point goals: 3-10, .300 (Hornbuckle 1-1, Houston 1-3, Augustus 1-4, Whalen 0-2). Team rebounds: 8. Team turnovers: 14 (12 PTS). Blocked shots: 4 (Brunson, Houston, Maiga-Ba, Whalen). Turnovers: 14 (Whalen 4, Augustus 3, Hornbuckle 2, Houston 2, M.Wright 2, Brunson). Steals: 8 (Houston 3, Hornbuckle 2, Anosike, Augustus, Maiga-Ba).
|Seattle||20||11||20||20 — 71|
|Minnesota||17||22||15||18 — 72|
Attendance: 7,312 (9,379). Time: 1:54. Officials: Kurt Walker, Clarke Stevens, Byron Jarrett.