Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Lynx force Seattle to outside, roll to fourth win

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: May 27, 2012 - 11:40 PM

This season is only the second time in franchise history that the Lynx have started 4-0. They won their first five games in 2008 before losing.

But that 2008 season did not go so well. They got to 6-1, the lost five in a row and finished 16-18, in a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference, which was much stronger than the Eastern Conference that year.

Barring injury, the Lynx should not have any prolonged losing streaks this year. They have essentially the same players back who won the WNBA title last year and were 15-1 in their last 16 games at Target Center.

Now the home mark is 18-1 in the past 19 games. Going back to last year's playoffs, the Lynx have won 10 games in a row, seven at home, three on the road.

SUNDAY IMPRESSIONS

Seattle won the WNBA title in 2010, but played the Lynx on Sunday with two key starters missing from that team. Lauren Jackson will miss the first half of this season because she is preparing for the Olympics with the Aussies. And Swin Cash is gone, traded to Chicago in the offseason.

This Storm team had little chance against the Lynx, with all five starters back from their 2011 WNBA championship team. The Lynx won 84-71. And it wasn't that close.

The Lynx rebounded better, 40-27

Shot better, 44.8 percent -- first time under 50.0 percent this season --- to 37.9

Had more points in the paint, 30-18

Had more second-chance points, 17-9

Had more points off turnovers, 17-15

The Lynx looked faster and more aggressive. Maya Moore was in her shooting grove, five for seven on three-pointers .... Lindsay Whalen had a season-high eight assists, seven in the first half ... Seimone Augustus, with the Storm concentrating on her, had only 10 points but six assists

SEATTLE VIEW

"They can score on you if you turn it over if you don't get back on defense," Seattle coach Brian Agler said. "We didn't get back on defense a few times."

The Storm tied a franchise record by making 14 three-pointers, but they had to break the record for attempts to do so. Seattle took 34 shots from behind the arc --- 32 from inside.

"We've got to play stronger and read their defense," Agler said, "and fight through some of their defensive schemes. ... They left us open [on three-pointers], so we took shots and we've got some pretty good shooters. We shot 41 percent [on threes], so that definitely was a positive."

One of the few for the 0-3 Storm.

Even Sue Bird, who Seattle broadcasters call the best point guard in the world and rave about, struggled. She was two for 10 and had only seven points. She had nine assists and five turnovers.

"We will get her going [early in games]," Agler said. "She will be fine. We're still a team with a lot of new pieces and still improving."

Ann Wauters, a 6-4 veteran center from Belgium, is one of Agler's new additions. She had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead the Storm in both categories.

"I'm trying to do my best to get adapted as fast as I can," said Wauters, who played with Moore on Ros Casares, the Spanish team that won the EuroLeague championship this past season.

"[The WNBA] is a physical league. It is more physical than in Europe. It is a faster pace. I mean the best players in the world are here, so it's the best competition in the world. It is hard every game. That's what makes it so interesting."

The Lynx impressed her. "They know each other really well," Wauters said. "They have a very good chemistry. They have a lot of weapons on each position, so you can feel that they're building that, or course, like they did last year. ... They are already like really something nice to build on and we're working towards it."

BEST ASSIST OF THE NIGHT

The best assist of Sunday night was not by Whalen. Not by Bird.

It was by Robert Moore, Maya's grandfather. He is in his early 80s and is a little unsteady when he walks. But after the game, a woman was having trouble getting down the steps to the main floor.

One man had one of her hands as she gripped a railing with the other. Then a second hand came out to help. It was Robert Moore's, from the main floor.

That helps explain why Maya is Maya.

 

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