The Seattle Storm have a chance to knock off the top two teams in the WNBA in consecutive games, when they head to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday at Target Center.
On Friday, Seattle upended the Los Angeles Sparks, owners of the best record in the league, behind a pestering defense and five 3-pointers from star guard Sue Bird. Forward Crystal Langhorne had 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Storm forced 17 Los Angeles turnovers and won despite an off night from rookie forward Breanna Stewart. The leading candidate for rookie of the year, Stewart made only 2 of 13 shots and finished with five points in the 79-72 win over the first-place Sparks.
"It was all about defense for us," guard Jewell Loyd told the Seattle Times after the win over the Sparks. Loyd finished with 15 points.
Now, the Storm turn their attention the Lynx, who have dominated Seattle over the last three seasons.
Minnesota (21-5) owns the second-best record in the WNBA, but also is coming off an upset loss. In their first game back since the month-long Olympic break, the Lynx lost to the Connecticut Sun, who are in last place in the Eastern Conference. Minnesota was uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball, committing 18 turnovers, and star forward Maya Moore was held to eight points.
The Lynx are a 1/2 game behind Los Angeles in the league standings. The top eight teams, regardless of conference, qualify for the playoffs.
With nine games remaining, Seattle (10-15) is clinging to eighth place. The Storm have not won consecutive games since late June and are last in the WNBA in rebounding, a concern against a Minnesota team ranked third in the league in rebounding.
The Lynx have won all three meetings with Seattle this season, including a 79-72 win in the final game before the Olympic break. Moore had 21 points, and center Sylvia Fowles added 20 points and 12 rebounds in the win over the Storm, who shot just 38.6 percent from the floor.
Minnesota has won nine of the last 10 meetings with Seattle overall.