Storm Matchup Box

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Storm (16-18)
Player Ht. Pts R/A
F Katie Smith 5-11 6.7 2.7
F Camille Little 6-2 11.3 5.1
C Lauren Jackson 6-6 10.2 5.6
G Tanisha Wright 5-11 7.9 4.4a
G Sue Bird 5-9 12.2 5.3a
Lynx (27-7)
F Maya Moore 6-0 16.4 6.0
F R. Brunson 6-2 11.4 8.9
C McWlms-Frnkln 6-2 8.4 5.4
G S. Augustus 6-0 16.6 2.5a
G Lindsay Whalen 5-9 11.5 5.4a

Forwards: Minnesota has the advantage with Moore just as deadly on offense as she is defensively, and she’s been averaging 18.5 points since the Olympic break. Rebekkah Brunson is greedy when it comes to rebounding and is shooting 50.5 percent from the field. For Seattle, Smith is deadly on offense and defense, but older and plays more point guard. Little started all 34 games for Seattle and shot a career-best 33.3 percent from three-point range.

Centers: Seattle has the advantage because Jackson is the biggest X Factor in this series. If she plays to her talents and brings her teammates long with her, the Storm could be tough to beat. Taj McWilliams-Franklin, at age 41, continues to outwork opponents and holds the WNBA’s career offensive rebound record.

Guards: Seattle has the edge here as Wright is one of the best lockdown defenders in the WNBA and is averaging a career-best 4.4 assists. Bird has been hampered by a hip flexor injury, but is valuable whenever she is on the court. Her team is 0-5 when she doesn’t play. For the Lynx, Augustus is one of the silkiest shooters in the league, averaging 16.6 points, but has trouble against the Storm. Whalen is shooting 50 percent from three-point range and led the league in assists (5.4) for second consecutive season.

Benches: Minnesota has the advantage with a feisty bunch of reserves that can hit from the outside and frustrate teams with its defense. Monica Wright shoots 45.8 percent from field, rookie Devereaux Peters is a gem. For Seattle, due to injuries to others, youngsters Shekinna Stricklen, Alysha Clark and Ewelina Kobryn gained valuable experience. Add veterans Tina Thompson and Ann Wauters and team just as deep as Lynx.

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Coaches: Minnesota has the edge as Cheryl Reeve kept her team playing at a superior level after winning a title, beginning with a WNBA-best 10-0 start. Seattle coach Brian Agler made solid offseason moves to keep team playoff-bound while transitioning to a younger roster.

Prediction: Minnesota in three.

Jayda Evans

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