EVERETT, Wash. - Napheesa Collier did all she could do to keep her first season going, scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
But turnovers and a poor game from the Lynx starting backcourt, which was outscored 48-1 by Seattle’s two guards, doomed the Lynx as their season came to an end in an 84-74 first-round elimination game loss Wednesday night at Angels of the Wind Arena.
Sylvia Fowles also had a double-double for Minnesota with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Damiris Dantas added 20 points for the Lynx after being held scoreless the last time these two teams met in August.
But turnovers (18 of them) doomed the Lynx from the start as the Storm’s fast-paced offense got rolling early with three quick three-pointers and a 13-4 run to start the game. Seattle led by as many as 14 in the opening half and had a six-point advantage at halftime.
But the Lynx hung around with a few runs of their own. Eight consecutive points in the final minutes of the third quarter gave Minnesota some momentum heading into the final period, down 64-59, before turnovers ruined any chance for a comeback.
“We were turning the ball over left and right,” Fowles said, “and I think that kind of hurt us in the stretch.”
Lynx coach Cheryle Reeve was proud of the way her team continued to answer every Seattle run until the final minutes.
“It’s the epitome of our team,” Reeve said. “That’s what we’ve been all season. … We just keep battling. I think it’s a testament to our players.”
Minnesota’s starting backcourt of Odyssey Sims and Danielle Robinson combined for just one point. Sims was 0-for-2 from the field, Robinson 0-for-3, and both played under 20 minutes.
The Storm’s speedy backcourt, however, shined. Guard Jordin Canada had a game- and career-high 26 points and Jewell Lloyd added 22.
Seattle, which won the regular-season series with the Lynx 3-1, will next play Sunday at third-seeded Los Angeles (22-12) in another single-elimination game.
Wednesday’s game featured the past two WNBA champions squaring off without a few key players.
Seattle (19-16), the defending WNBA champs, has been without last year’s MVP Breanna Stewart and star Sue Bird, who both missed the season with injuries. Minnesota (18-17) was dealt a blow this season when star forward Maya Moore stepped away from the team for the year to focus on her family and ministry.
The Storm shot 47% from the field, the Lynx 45.7%.
The loss didn’t dim the future of Collier, who was named the AP rookie of the year earlier Wednesday.
“That’s something only a couple other rookies [Candace Parker and Tamika Catchings] have ever done in their debut, getting a double-double,” Reeve said of Collier. “Napheesa just competes. We needed her to do so many things for us today. … I’m really excited about her future.”
And Collier is grateful.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better season, to be placed in a better situation with this team,” said Collier, a first-round pick from Connecticut. “I’m really grateful. … I feel like I was put in a really blessed spot, and I was just trying to make the best of it.’’