Storm hands Minnesota its first loss
The Storm (3-6) snapped the Lynx’s seven-game winning streak to open the season, holding the visitors well below its 87.1 scoring average.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Camille Little wasn’t winded and didn’t show a bead of sweat.
Not what you’d expect for a player who kept the WNBA’s leading scorer to two points in the fourth quarter of a game decided by one possession. But that was Little following Seattle’s 65-62 win against Minnesota on Friday at KeyArena.
Lynx forward Maya Moore, who opened the season with a record-setting four straight 30-point games, was 1 of 4 from the field in the fourth quarter. And the Storm didn’t allow the Lynx an offensive rebound as it rallied from a seven-point deficit to hand the defending champions their first loss after opening with seven straight wins.
“It was intense,” Storm coach Brian Agler said.
With Little blanketing Moore and Tanisha Wright working to hold Lynx All-Star Seimone Augustus to two shot attempts in the fourth quarter, Seattle was able to overcome its own offensive struggles and sealed the win from the free-throw line.
Guard Temeka Johnson made a pair of free throws with 18.7 seconds left to give the Storm a 63-60 lead.
Minnesota point guard Lindsay Whalen cut the Storm lead to 63-62 with 11.4 seconds left but Wright made a pair of free throws with 10.3 seconds remaining before Lynx guard Tan White missed a three-pointer that could have sent the game into overtime.
“It was kind of brick, brick, brick, back-and-forth,” Little said of the teams combining to miss eight shots to open the final quarter. “But it was a team effort. We all were all over the place trying to make sure they didn’t get shots in their rhythm. They’re tough, and once they start hitting shots, it’s hard to make them stop.”
The Storm (3-6) held the visitors well below their 87.1 scoring average. It was reminiscent of 2012, when Minnesota traveled to Seattle with a league-record 10-0 start and lost to the Storm.
Wright scored 10 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter, helping Seattle outscore the Lynx 21-11 in the period.
“It’s disappointing to go down that way,” said Moore, who finished with 12 points on 6-of-15 shooting.
She entered the game averaging 27.6 points, while Augustus, who was averaging 19.9, also finished with 12.
It was Seattle’s first win against Minnesota in the teams’ past four matchups. The Lynx eliminated the Storm in the opening round of the playoffs last season en route to winning the WNBA championship.
Seattle plays 10 of its opening 13 games on the road, and has gone 1-5 in the first six away from home. The Storm leaves Sunday for a four-game trip.
“It’s more of a benchmark,” said Storm point guard Sue Bird, who had a season-high 10 assists, about beating the Lynx. “They have some of the most dynamic players in the league, which makes them very difficult to guard.
“So it says something more about us, and that we were able to get this win because we need wins.”
• The WNBA announced Friday that President Barack Obama will honor Minnesota at the White House on June 12 for winning the 2013 league championship. It was the Lynx’s second title in the past three seasons.