The Seattle Storm fought back from down 18 in the third quarter to pull within in one in the final minutes, only to see their miraculous comeback fall short as they lost to the Minnesota Lynx 73-67 Tuesday in Minneapolis.
From the opening tip, the first half would be defined by lights out shooting and turnovers. The Lynx, led by Anna Cruz and Maya Moore would shoot a blistering 9-13 from the floor in the opening period matched by the Storm's own 9-17. Both teams would commit seven first quarter turnovers and at the end of one Minnesota would hold a slim 23-21 lead.
In the second quarter, Minnesota would continue to shoot a superhuman percentage as they knocked down 10-16 shot attempts in the period.
Cruz hit 5-5 from the floor in the first half for 12 points while dishing out five assists. Moore was similarly spectacular as she torched the Storm for 13 points on 6-7 shooting, and added four assists and three rebounds before halftime.
Seattle secured a 31-29 lead just 3:34 into the second quarter. Despite their advantage and an impressive nine first-half points from Jewell Loyd and eight from Alysha Clark, Minnesota went on a 15-6 run the rest of the quarter to build a 46-35 lead going into the locker room.
The Lynx began the 3rd quarter by extending their scoring run and increasing their lead all the way to 57-39 before Seattle answered with a 9-0 run of their own to cut the lead back to 57-46 entering the final stanza.
"We played really well and held on in the third and made them take really tough shots," said Loyd of the teams second half effort "and made them really uncomfortable, if we can continue to do that, it will help us for our next game."
The fourth would see the wheels fall off for the Lynx as the Storm, led by Loyd and Clark, would control the final 10 minutes. Loyd would draw Seattle to within one at 68-67 with 2:11 to play.
With just under 20 seconds to go, Minnesota would miss two point blank layups, and Clark would secure the rebound giving Seattle a final chance to tie the game with 13.6 seconds left.
On the inbound, Jenna O'Hea would attempt to hit Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis in the corner, but the pass was off target and instead wound up out of bounds giving the Lynx the ball back. The miscue would cost Seattle their chance to tie the game and allow Minnesota to secure both the win and the best record in the western conference this season.
"First and foremost I told the team ‘congratulations on accomplishing a major goal that we set out on at the start of the season to be the best in the West.’" A proud Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said after the victory. "We were able to check that off our list. I think the team was pretty excited about that."
The Lynx were led by the 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists of Moore. Cruz also finished with an inspired performance scoring 15 points and adding eight assists. Sylvia Fowles would also reach double-figures in the victory finishing with 14 points and four rebounds.
Crystal Langhorne led the Storm in the scoring column as she finished with 14 points and five rebounds. Loyd compiled 13 points, while Clark filled the stat sheet finishing with 12 points, six rebounds, and three steals.
Sue Bird would add seven points and eight assists and Ramu Tokashiki, fresh off of winning MVP in the Asia Championships last week, scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds in her first game back with the team.