If there was one defining play in the Seattle Storm's 86-79 win over the Minnesota Lynx in double overtime last night, it was probably Storm center Lauren Jackson's game-tying three at the end of regulation to send the game into its first overtime.
Prior to that point, Jackson was going through an almost painfully frustrating shooting night: she was 3-for-13 before that game-saving shot and just 0-for-2 from 3-point land. But somehow, the veteran shook all that off and when faced with the opportunity to extend her team's season, she came through in the clutch.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve offered some insight into how she was able to come through on that final play, as quoted at StormBasketball.com.
We put a lot of pressure on our defense. We needed to make that play and we didn't make that play. Any time Jackson is involved in screen, you switch. And we failed to switch. There was also a play where (Wright) got her three - we made a bonehead play. But like I said, you put so much darn pressure on your defense you have to make those plays because you're not scoring and we just didn't get that done.
It was certainly, in a way, the narrative of the entire game and the season: a veteran team that got off to a slow start waiting for Jackson, their three-time MVP and three-time scoring champion, to arrive and give them a boost. It's not that Jackson won the game single-handedly, but it represents so much about the veteran grit that helped this team beat the defending champion Lynx in a series that many observers figured would be a sweep.
Yet it also highlights a key point about this game: the Lynx had some mental lapses at crucial moments allowed the Storm to a) push the game into overtime and b) win the game in double overtime. And that's not to mention Minnesota's scoring struggles through the fourth quarter and overtime that Reeve alluded to.
The single most significant factor in the Storm's win was outshooting the Lynx 40.26% to 32.48% from the field, while the Lynx struggled to hit anything beyond the 3-point arc (3-for-16 & 0-for-4 in "4Q & OT's").
I probably need not explain to even casual WNBA fans that the chances of the Lynx having consecutive games like that - regardless of where they play - are rather low.