The Lynx answered back after losing a tough game on the road in Seattle on Friday. Minnesota center Janelle McCarville carved out a season-high 22 points as the Lynx (12-5) fought hard to earn a win at Target Center over the Storm (7-11).
“Felt good to grind one out…this is how we should feel every night, that we gave everything we had to come up with a win. Give Seattle credit, in the second half they took away some things from us and got some good offense off of our turnovers…All in all, we fought through it and I was happy to get the win.”
Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve
Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird created a new chapter in the record books during the contest. The 12-year veteran became the first player in WNBA history to record 4,000 points, 2,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds. Bird has spent her career setting a new standard on what a determined WNBA guard can achieve as an all-around player, and continues to build on that legacy.
“She's (Sue Bird) one of the greatest players to ever play in the league, when you have records like that. She's as good as person as she is a player. Highest compliments I could give. She's a great individual and she's a great player. She's been a gold medalist, she's an all-star, and she's won 'ships. It is what it is. She's an elite player. "
Seattle Storm Head Coach Brian Agler
Minnesota Lynx guard Seimone Augustus sat out the contest due to bursitis in her knee, and as a result Monica Wright saw her first start of the 2014 season. The game began with Minnesota finding momentum in the early stages behind strong overall play from Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, and Janel McCarville.
Seattle didn’t appear to get discouraged, staring center Camille Little maintained her focus scoring the basketball, point guard Sue Bird struggled with turnovers while trying to create opportunities, and starting forward Crystal Langhorne fought hard on the glass. The resolve by Seattle to fight back paid off as they pulled to within 2 to end the first quarter behind the Lynx 17-19.
Minnesota regained control by opening the 2nd quarter with a 19-7 run. Janel McCarville again came up big in the scoring column, and she had help from rookie center Damiris Dantas. In addition, key reserve Devereaux Peters found her rhythm, and helped set the tone on both sides of the ball for the Lynx.
The Storm struggled to share the ball and find continuity during the quarter. Storm guard Sue Bird and reserve Jenna O’Hea were responsible for all but 2 of Seattle’s 15 second quarter points as they closed out the half down 42-32 to Minnesota.
“Something that stuck out that first half was their post players hitting jump shots. Whether it was J. Mac or Devereaux Peters, they were knocking some shots in…that definitely helped them.”
Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird
The third quarter was not pretty for either team. Both sides were playing severely aggressive defense, clogging lanes and leaving almost no shot uncontested. That level of effort led to very low shot percentages and scoring totals by both teams throughout the quarter.
The Lynx struggled with turnovers as the Storm obstructed their ability to execute offensively. Minnesota was held to just 26.7% shooting during the quarter, and saw little to no offensive production with the exception of Janel McCarville.
Seattle did a good job maintaining ball control, but had trouble converting on their offensive opportunities. In addition, the Storm had difficulty securing rebounds, which allowed Minnesota to hold Seattle to only 15 points in the quarter and maintain the lead 54-47 going into the final quarter.
“Every game is competitive. Being not the typical season so far, we have had to learn the hard way…it’s the little things that everybody has to feel responsible to bring every day that makes the difference.”
Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore
The fourth quarter was all-out effort. Minnesota continued to struggle from the floor, and Seattle took immediate advantage by chipping away at the lead and finding a way back into the contest.
Sue Bird played huge in the final quarter, putting up 8 points and 5 assists while leading the Storm to their first lead since the opening quarter with 5 minutes left in the game. Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen responded in stride, but still found themselves in a single possession game with the clock running down.
After falling behind by 4 points, Storm reserve Jenna O’Hea knocked down a 3-point shot to bring the game back to within 1 point in the final two minutes. Lindsay Whalen answered with a fall-away jumper, and Seattle reserve Angel Robinson followed with a nice lay-up off a Sue Bird assist.
Seattle got another chance as Lindsay Whalen missed a jump shot with 36.9 seconds left and the score 69-68 in favor of the Lynx. The Storm ran a solid play and found Angel Robinson with space in the paint, unfortunately for Seattle, Robinson didn’t convert on the lay-up attempt and Lindsay Whalen secured the rebound with 18.8 seconds left forcing Seattle to foul.
After Whalen made both shots from the line, the Storm found themselves down by 3 with 15.3 seconds left in the game. Minnesota then continued to turn up the pressure and took advantage of a botched inbound pass between Sue Bird and Camille Little with a Monica Wright steal ending with a series of free throws to secure Minnesota the win 74-69.
“We had to foul them, part of the reason they went to the line for more chances. We had opportunities. In a game like this you work like crazy to get yourself back in and give yourself a chance. We had those and we didn’t take advantage of them.”
Seattle Storm Head Coach Brian Agler
Sue Bird played a great game for Seattle, putting up team highs in points with 21, and assists with 7 while shooting 8-14 overall and 4-6 from 3pt. Jenna O’Hea was the only other Storm player to record double digit scoring with 14 points, and team-high rebounds goes to Crystal Langhorne with 8 to go with her 6 points.
Key performances for the Lynx came from various players. Maya Moore scored 14 points, to go with team highs of 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and a career high 4 blocked shots. Devereaux Peters continued to find her role and had a spectacular game scoring 12 points on 6-8 shooting, while adding 7 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 assists.
Player of the game honors goes to Lynx center Janel McCarville for her consistent production throughout the contest. McCarville had her best scoring night in a Lynx uniform, finishing the night with 22 points on 9-16 shooting, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal.
“Seimone was out. Maya had a good game but not “Maya” game, so someone had to step up and it just so happened to be my day. I try to take full advantage of it, and do anything I could do to get the team a win. I said it all along, I will do whatever the team needs, and today it was scoring.”
Minnesota Lynx center Janel McCarville