Undone by the hot-shooting Lynx, The Storm trailed by 10 at halftime and ultimately fell 94-70 before an announced crowd of 8,132 at Target Center Thursday night. It was Seattle’s 10th consecutive road loss against the Lynx.
MINNEAPOLIS – After scoring just 45 points in a blowout defeat in its last game against Tulsa, Seattle took some small steps forward Thursday.
But while relative success for a team incorporating a lot of young players into the mix might mark incremental progress, the end result against Western Conference powerhouse Minnesota was another lopsided setback.
Undone by the hot-shooting Lynx, the Storm (1-2) trailed by 10 at halftime and ultimately fell 94-70 before an announced crowd of 8,132 at Target Center. It was Seattle’s 10th consecutive road defeat against the Lynx.
“It’s no secret that we’ve made some moves this offseason to look toward the future and rebuild,” said veteran Storm guard Sue Bird, who led Seattle with 12 points and six assists. “Sometimes there are going to be games like this, but we’re really focused on putting in a system and a style of play that we want to take into the next one, two, three, four, five years ahead.”
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After shooting just 23.8 percent against Tulsa (14.7 percent in a dismal first half), the Storm weathered an uneven first quarter Thursday and smoothed out its offense as the game went on.
Minnesota, however, was scoring at a more rapid clip and getting points from seemingly any player it put on the court. In the first half, it was post players Rebekkah Brunson, Damiris Dantas and Asjha Jones shooting a combined 9 for 12 to build a 39-29 edge at the break.
In the second half, reserve guard Tricia Liston led a barrage of three-pointers, finishing 4 for 7 from long distance for the game to lead all scorers with a career-high 15 points. She was one of nine different Minnesota players to score at least seven points.
Seattle guard Jewell Loyd, mired in a 2-for-20 slump to start the season after being the No. 1 overall choice in the WNBA draft earlier this year, came off the bench midway through the first quarter after starting the first two games of the season.
“She asked to do that,” Storm coach Jenny Boucek said. “She wanted to watch a little bit and get a feel from the bench. She hasn’t done anything wrong, she just thought it might be helpful to watch some veterans a little bit, so that’s what we did.”
The change of scenery didn’t seem to help offensively, as Loyd missed her first four shots against the Lynx — all of them jumpers. Loyd broke through with a driving layup and fast-break layup midway through the second quarter, but those were her only two baskets until late in the fourth quarter in a 3-for-11 shooting night.
“She’s doing a lot of good things,” Boucek said. “She’s defending well. She’s growing in her understanding of the game. Her shots aren’t going in yet, but she’s learning how to play against a lot bigger, faster, stronger players.”
Making even a few more shots might not have mattered Thursday against the Lynx, who pushed the lead to 23 late in the third quarter to essentially put the game out of reach.
“They’re comfortable, and that’s a huge advantage in this league when the season starts, to have played together for a while,” Bird said. “They’re a very good team.”