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Minnesota becomes WNBA’s 1st to make playoffs in July

Two Defenders? Three? Four? It’s never too many for Lynx’s Sylvia Fowles to confidently power through. The star center demoralized Seattle defenders inside the paint for 29 points and 12 rebounds Sunday night.

David Sherman - NBAE/Getty Images

St. Paul, MN — The Lynx and Storm both came out ready to perform, with tight ball pressure on the defensive front. Each squad was having a tough time trying to make clean passes and protecting the ball while dribbling. The game was downright physical.

Minnesota’s Rebekkah Brunson and Sylvia Fowles were dominating the boards, constantly finding ways to power through multiple defenders inside the paint. The consistent effort of the Lynx’s centers throughout the first half created a difference twice that of the Storm’s point production while under the hoop. This inside-tyranny refused to let up all game…

“…And then keeping them out of the paint -- this is the sixth straight game that we’ve held an opponent below 30 points, and it’s been a goal of ours and we’ve been able to achieve that, it’s not a coincidence that we’re winning those games,” Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve said.

Right before halftime, Minnesota looked as if they had an extra pep in their step, moving the ball around the court at a level the Storm could not keep up with, which resulted in numerous wide open shots. Unfortunately for Seattle, all of the shots that were left open, the Lynx capitalized on and began to pull ahead.

Fowles continued to rule over her inside-game domain, more than doubling her points from the whole first half in the third quarter alone. Anytime Fowles got the ball, she scored -- completely posterizing her defender every opportunity that came her way.

“All respect to her, she is playing out of her mind right now. We tried a lot of different things and a lot of the time we did exactly what we wanted to do and she still just made incredible plays,” said Seattle Head Coach Jenny Boucek after the game.

Fowles ended the game with 29 points and 12 rebounds, proving just how unsuccessful the Storm was in stopping the Lynx powerful weapon.

“Reeve gave me that eye, like go to work,” said Fowles of her third quarter run. “She gave me that eye and was like look, you can pass, but you can go through two people… So, you try not to be selfish in situations like that, when you’re getting double and triple teamed, but at the same time, when you’re capable of doing it, why not?”

The deadly combination of Minnesota’s Maya Moore, Brunson, and Fowles all having 20+ point games was too much for Seattle and the Lynx added another win to the season, 93-82. Not to mention they officially secured a spot in post-season play for the 2017 season, even without Seimone Augustus who did not play due to personal reasons.

But Minnesota has bigger goals than just making the playoffs. Reeve said after that game that when she announced to her team they made it in, everyone simply shrugged. They all know they can make post-season, but Fowles and the Lynx are out for something much greater -- and they’re hungry.

“It was like, yeah this is the first time in WNBA history that someone has made the playoffs in July and we were like ‘yeah, OK,’” Fowles stated after the win. “I guess she wanted a different response, but we still have games to play. We aren’t worried about that. That’s what makes us us and that’s what makes us good, because everybody is humble and we aren’t losing sight of just clinching playoffs.”