Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Seattle Storm fall to Minnesota Lynx in first round of 2012 WNBA Playoffs

After two Game Threes in the WNBA semifinals on Tuesday night, the Western Conference Finals picture is complete, with the defending champion Minnesota Lynx advancing while the Atlanta Dream have been eliminated.

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How the Minnesota Lynx survived the West

The Minnesota Lynx' path to the 2012 WNBA Finals hasn't been without a couple of close calls: they were a Lauren Jackson jumper away from being knocked out in the first round.

But the very fact that they've been able to survive the best shots that their Western Conference opponents could muster says quite a bit about this team statistically.

For more on the WNBA Finals, check out the storystream with the menu bar to the right.

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Brian Agler proud of the Storm's playoff effort

Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times is busy writing up Seattle Storm exit interviews after their heartbreaking one point loss to the defending champion Minnesota Lynx in the first round of the 2012 WNBA playoffs.

Although this is the second consecutive season in which the Storm have taken a heartbreaking exit from the playoffs since winning the title in 2010, head coach and GM Brian Agler was positive about the season overall in his Q&A with Evans.

Q: How do you view the roster given the injuries it battled?
Agler: There's a tremendous amount of respect. I told them after the game that I don't think I'd ever been more proud of a team and how they battled; knowing what they're going through individually and all the issues that we battled throughout the season, whether it be injury, absence, schedule, all those things were very taxing on our team.

Although this year's loss might feel more regrettable to some fans given that advancing past the defending champions would seem to give the team hope for returning to the Finals, the Storm's effort - and near victory - is indeed plenty to be proud of given the narrative of the season.

Yes, it was a first round loss, but in the context of a season hampered by injury and further disjointed due to the Olympics and Lauren Jackson's absence, even competing with a team that might go down as among the most potent in the history of the WNBA is at least something for fans of the organization to remain positive about as the team continues to slowly go young in preparation for a future without Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson.

For more reactions to the Storm's exit from the playoffs, check out StormBasketball.com's link roundup.

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Seimone Augustus on Sue Bird, Lindsay Whalen

Minnesota Lynx guard Seimone Augustus had some nice words to say about the point guard play in her team's Western Conference semifinals series against the Seattle Storm, as posted at StormBasketball.com.

I think every little girl that aspires to be a point guard got a chance to see the two best point guards go head-to-head tonight. You got to see the guts of both of them. Sue went through some things with her health and Whalen gutted it out tonight to help us get the victory. For every little girl out there trying to be a point guard, you just witnessed a great series between two great point guards that are determined to do whatever it takes for their team to win.

Tuesday night's game was a showcase of the best point guard play a basketball fan could hope for, reinforcing how a point guard's performance can have such a huge impact on their team.

Statistically, Storm point guard Sue Bird won the day with 11 assists and 2 turnovers (an extremely efficient 13.33 pure point rating) and a huge three down the stretch to keep her team in the game. But in spite of a pedestrian stat line - and a -4 plus/minus rating - Whalen had one of the gutsiest playoff performances in recent memory, running her team with a left wrist that she clearly struggled to even put pressure on.

The point guard play in that series was just one of the many dynamics that made it seem like three games weren't enough to do the quality of play justice.

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WNBA Playoffs: Indiana, Minnesota advance

The possibility of a 2011 WNBA Finals rematch ended tonight.

While the Minnesota Lynx advanced after another dramatic bout with the Seattle Storm, the Atlanta Dream fell to the Indiana Fever.

Kris Willis of SB Nation Atlanta has a brief recap of the Dream's 75-64 loss to the Indiana Fever, marking an Angel McCoughtry technical foul as a turning point in their season finale.

...Atlanta would answer quickly cutting the lead back to six and regaining some of the momentum until Angel McCoughtry was undercut by Briann January during a scramble for a loose ball. A visibly angry McCoughtry got to her feet and swiped the ball away from January and received a technical foul. Katie Douglas sank the free throw and the Dream's momentum disappeared in what was a snapshot of their entire season.

The Lynx survived a nail biter against the Storm as Lauren Jackson couldn't convert a contested jumper on the final possession of the game as the Lynx held on to win 73-72.

Jordan Sargent of SBN Minnesota has a brief recap of the details from a Lynx perspective.

Seimone Augustus led the Lynx with 21 points on 8-15 shooting on the field -- she also added four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Forward Maya Moore was right behind Augustus with 20 points to go along with six rebounds and two assists. Rebekkah Brunson was the third member of the Lynx in double digits, with 16 points to go along with a team leading nine rebounds.

For the Storm, it's the second year in a row that their season has ended with a heartbreaking loss, but for basketball fans it was just a great series to watch that almost leaves you wanting for a a best-of-five in the WNBA.

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2012 WNBA Playoffs: 3 keys for the Storm in Game 3

Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals between the Minnesota Lynx and Seattle Storm was the kind of classic basketball masterpiece that you hope for in the playoffs and takes a while to fully digest.

Kevin Pelton of StormBasketball.com has already doing a great job capturing the epic nature of the Storm's double overtime win on Sunday with his oral history of the game, but today we try to put that behind us and look ahead to their decisive Game Three battle at 9 p.m. EDT tonight.

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Video: Highlights of the Seattle Storm's 2OT win

The Seattle Storm beat the Minnesota Lynx 86-79 in double overtime in the first round of the WNBA Playoffs to extend the series to a third and decisive game on Tuesday. Check out SBN Minnesota for a full account of the game.

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Reactions to the Storm's thrilling win over Lynx

The Seattle Storm's 86-79 double overtime win against the defending champion Minnesota Lynx tonight was nothing short of an Instant Classic.

Was it perfectly played? Not really. Were there mistakes made (by both teams and possibly the officials)? Sure. But fittingly, a game that featured the last two WNBA champions arguably produced the most exciting basketball game of the season and was a perfect showcase for what the league can offer on ESPN.

SB Nation Minnesota has already recapped the game and you'll get more from us later, but sometime during the fourth quarter or so I started cataloging worthwhile tweets. Then it went to overtime. Then it went into another overtime. So here are a few tweets that at least begin to capture a game that's really hard to put into words.

If you have a chance to watch that game somehow - or even DVR'd it and see this as one big spoiler - I would certainly recommend doing so. That was just an exciting game to watch for any fan of the sport.

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