Minneapolis, MN — While it was unprecedented, the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro provided a nice break in the WNBA season, giving players around the league a chance to come together to partake in one of the best international athletic competition in the world.
And, the United State’s women’s team rolled smoothly to a gold medal.
But Cheryl Reeve and the four Minnesota Lynx players who partook in the games, were back to themselves after looking discombobulated against the Connecticut Sun in the first game back after the break were they loss for the second time this season to the Sun.
They cruised to a 92-80 win, reminding WNBA fans why they’re sitting near the top of the Western Conference standings.
“[Seattle] is a good team. They’re a really good team,” said Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson. “I just know that there were a lot of things that we wanted to do coming off of the last game – we didn’t play the way we wanted to play, we didn’t accomplish the things we wanted accomplish. First and foremost we wanted to fix those things and I think we did a pretty good job of that tonight.”
The Lynx picked things up right where they left off before the Olympics break. They jumped up to an 11-0 lead instantly, thanks to forward Sylvia Fowles’ six points. The Storm, though, seemed to just need an extra second to get started.
Seattle quickly went on a run to get back within five points of Minnesota at the end of the first quarter. They pushed the run into the second quarter, tying the game up just two minutes into the period. By the end, the Storm racked up a 19-7 run.
Seattle sprinted ahead at the end of the quarter, going on a 7-0 run in the final 64 seconds of the period. Heading into the locker room, Seattle’s lead was 47-41, holding the Lynx to just 15 points in the quarter.
The Lynx held Seattle to just three points in the first four minutes of the third quarter, quickly retying the game 50-50. The two then stuck close to each other, with neither able to pull away from the other.
However, with 2:36 left in the quarter, Minnesota kicked things into gear. The Lynx went on an 11-3 run to go up by eight points to close out the period, taking any momentum that Seattle had.
Minnesota’s run carried over into the fourth quarter, allowing them to jump back up to a 12-point lead. From there, the Lynx didn’t have much trouble holding a double-digit lead, cruising to a 92-80 win.
Minnesota’s offense was incredibly balanced, and shot an impressive 52.1 percent from the field. Guard Lindsay Whalen led the Lynx with a season-high 24 points, shooting 9-of-15 from the field.
Brunson also became the WNBA’s all-time leading rebounder, too, grabbing three offensive rebounds against the Storm to pass Taj McWilliams-Franklin with 1064 career rebounds.
“It’s pretty huge. She knows it’s vital to our team when she does that and I’m just happy that it happened for her in a Lynx uniform because she’s done amazing things for this team in that area,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. “I was really proud of her and to be able to do it in front of a home crowd, I think was really fun and she got the recognition that she deserved.”
Guard Seimone Augustus finished the game with 18, and guard Maya Moore ended with 13 points. Fowles picked up a double-double with 11 points and 11, too. Guard Jia Perkins also finished in double figures for the Lynx, ending with 10 points.
Guard Jewell Loyd led the Storm with 20 points. Forward Ramu Tokashiki finished with 13 points and five rebounds. Guards Crystal Langhorne and Sue Bird both finished with 11 points each, and forward Breanna Stewart ended with 10 points and six rebounds.
Seattle will next head to Chicago on Wednesday night to take on the Sky. Minnesota is next in action on Friday when they host the Connecticut Sun.