Storm-Lynx Preview

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While the Seattle Storm have history on their side since no WNBA team has squandered a 2-0 lead in a best-of-five playoff series, they are not complacent heading into Sunday’s Game 3 versus the Minnesota Lynx.

Sweeps have been the order of the day when teams grab a 2-0 lead, with 10 teams completing the series win in three games. Two teams have needed four games and one was pushed to five. The Storm had three and four-game series en route to their 2018 title, knocking off the Phoenix Mercury in four games before dispatching the Washington Mystics in three.

“But still I know Minny is going to come out to keep their season alive. We’re not taking them lightly,” MVP runner-up Breanna Stewart told the Seattle Times. “We know that we’ve been in Game 3 before in 2018 when we lost to Phoenix. We know it’s tough and we’ll be ready.”

The Storm are also in good shape after Thursday night’s 89-79 win in Game 2. Jewell Loyd scored 10 of her 20 points in a decisive 12-0 second-quarter burst that allowed Seattle to keep Minnesota at arm’s length for the second half. Gary Kloppenburg’s team again showcased a balanced offense, with Stewart adding 17 points and seven Storm players scoring at least seven points.

Seattle’s perimeter defense, though, continues to be a concern. The Lynx have gone 27 for 59 (45.8 percent) from 3-point range, compensating for the absence of injured veteran center Sylvia Fowles, and Kloppenburg knows Minnesota will bring all it can.

“The third one is the toughest to try to close a team out,” Kloppenburg said. “They’re desperate. They don’t want to go home. They’re going to come out with a lot of energy. You can’t let down.

“You almost have to trick yourself in thinking that you’re down two. That’s the kind of mindset you have to go in to have the sense of urgency to close a team out in that third game.”

Despite an eight-game losing streak to the Storm when including the postseason, the Lynx have shown plenty of heart in the “wubble.” They have overcome six double-digit deficits on the season, and Napheesa Collier is looking for a bounce-back performance after being limited to 12 points in 29 foul-plagued minutes.

“It [stinks] to be on the bench for a quarter and a half because I have three fouls when they’re not, in my opinion, fouls or hard fouls,” said Collier, who picked up her third foul with 7:22 to play in the second quarter, to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “And, with the playoffs, I hate when they call touchy fouls. I wish they would let us play.”

Minnesota also needs Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield to find her shot. While she has 13 assists against only four turnovers in the two losses, the second-round pick is 5 for 18 in the semifinals and has totaled just 14 points – well off her 16.2 per game on the season.

“It’s not a 200-minute series unless you are winning a couple of those 40 minutes,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “The mind-set is we’ve got to win a game. And Sunday will be that game.”

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