SEATTLE – Bring on Los Angeles.
The Lynx have been running side-by-side with the Los Angeles Sparks at the top of the WNBA all season. This week, they finally can see what all the fuss is about from the other side.
Maya Moore had 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists to help the Lynx beat the Seattle Storm 96-84 Sunday night and extend their WNBA record for consecutive victories to open a season.
At 12-0, the Lynx hold the WNBA record for victories to start the season. That will be on the line Tuesday afternoon, though, when they play at Los Angeles (11-0). The teams will then play again Friday night at Target Center.
“That’s all you can ask for, is to keep your destiny in your own hands in a sense,” Moore said of her team’s unbeaten record. “It’s up to how we want to come out and play. The year is set up perfectly for us to be able to go out and go get it if we want it.
“We’re excited to play this next game and the momentum that we’ve built throughout the course of the season. But especially this last game, finishing the way we did as a team. It feels good knowing everyone can and wants to be involved.”
Natasha Howard came off the bench to score 16 points on 7-for-7 shooting for the Lynx, whose reserves outscored Seattle’s 38-10. The Lynx beat the Storm for the 17th time in 21 meetings. Sylvia Fowles also scored 16 points for the Lynx.
Breanna Stewart, the top pick in this year’s WNBA draft, had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Storm. Jewell Loyd had 16 points and seven assists, and Sue Bird scored 14 points.
Bird hit back-to-back three-pointers and then Alysha Clark converted a three-point play during a 9-2 spurt by Seattle that tied it early in the third quarter at 55-55, but the Lynx responded by scoring nine consecutive points to start a 29-8 run over the 10-plus minutes and led by double figures the rest of the way.
“Defensively we turned it up a little bit,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We dictated a little bit more than we did in the first half. We cleaned up some of our schemes and that allowed us to get in a flow on offense.”
The Lynx shot 56.2 percent from the floor and outrebounded Seattle 35-23.
Seattle (4-9) made 10 of its first 13 field-goal attempts to open up a 22-12 lead before the Lynx got hot. They made 17 of their next 18 shots to take a 44-34 lead with 4:20 left in the half and never trailed again.
“Seattle came out very hot, and there isn’t anything you can do about that,” Fowles said. “All we could do was play our game and do what we do best and I think we have a better concept of what we have to do in the second half, and we just stuck with the game plan.”
Fowles, for one, didn’t want to look ahead to the Sparks just yet. “We’re going to enjoy being 12-0 for now,” she said, “and then we’ll think about L.A.”