Storm fall at home to Minnesota, 96-84

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LOS ANGELES - JUNE 28: Marie Ferdinand-Harris #24 of the Los Angeles Sparks guards as Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm drives the ball during the game on June 28, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

 

SEATTLE – Returning home from a four-game road trip, the Seattle Storm fell 96-84 to the defending champion Minnesota Lynx at KeyArena on Sunday. The Storm, on just two days of rest after the road trip, drops to 4-9 on the season, while the Lynx extend their record-breaking undefeated start to 12 games.

Rookie forward Breanna Stewart paced the Storm with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Jewell Loyd added 20 points and a career-high seven assists. Minnesota, which leads the WNBA with 87.8 points per game, was paced by the 18 points of former MVP Maya Moore.

The Lynx dominated on the glass Sunday night, outrebounding Seattle 35-21. They were also bolstered by the production of their bench, which tallied 38 points to Seattle’s 10. It was Minnesota’s eighth win by a double-digit margin this season.

The Storm jumped out to a 16-8 lead behind three jump shots from Sue Bird and two from Loyd, as Seattle shot 7-of-8 from the field in the first four minutes of the game. The edge was increased to double digits at 22-12, but the Lynx trimmed their deficit to just three by the end of the first quarter. Janel McCarville came off the bench and made all three of her midrange jump shots to help Minnesota go on an 11-4 run to close out the period.

Minnesota quickly overcame its deficit to take the lead, 32-30, after Moore scored three baskets in the first two minutes of the second quarter. The Lynx increased their lead to double digits, 44-34, with 4:20 to go in the half, capping off a 12-2 spurt with a Sylvia Fowles layup in transition. The Storm kept it close thanks to Loyd, who had a productive first half with 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting and six assists.

The Lynx led 53-46 at the break after both teams shot better than 54 percent from the field. Stewart picked up her third foul with five minutes to go in the second, and she sat on the bench for the remainder of the half.

Bird drained two consecutive three-pointers to start the second half, helping the Storm come back to tie the game at 55. But Moore guided Minnesota to a timely 16-3 run, and the Lynx never relinquished the lead from there.

Ahead 77-63 heading into the fourth quarter, Minnesota maintained a double-digit lead throughout the final period despite 10 points from Stewart.

The Storm is now 0-2 this year against Minnesota, with two road games vs. the Lynx still to come. The Lynx defeated Seattle 77-70 on May 22 despite a then-career high 20 points from Alysha Clark