Storm oust Lynx, earn matchup with Sparks
Jordin Canada scored a career-high 26 points, and Jewell Loyd added 22 as the defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm opened the playoffs with an 84-74 victory against the Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday night in Everett, Wash.
The Storm (19-16) will play another elimination game in a second-round matchup Sunday at Los Angeles against the Sparks. The Lynx finished 18-17.
Seattle's starting backcourt of Canada and Loyd outscored Minnesota starting guards Odyssey Sims and Danielle Robinson 48-1.
Sims was the Lynx's leading scorer in the regular season with 14.5 points per game, and Robinson averaged 10.1. They combined to shoot 0-for-5 from the field Wednesday while Loyd and Canada were 16-for-35.
Mercedes Russell added 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and a team-high nine rebounds for the Storm, who defeated Minnesota in four of five meetings this season. Seattle's leading scorer, Natasha Howard, was limited to two points but contributed seven rebounds and a game-high six assists.
Damiris Dantas led Minnesota with 20 points. Napheesa Collier, the WNBA's Rookie of the Year, had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Sylvia Fowles added 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Lynx, who trailed by as many as 14 points, cut Seattle's advantage to 64-61 with nine minutes remaining.
Seattle's Shavonte Zellous made two consecutive jumpers, and fellow reserve Sami Whitcomb hit a 3-pointer as the Storm went on a 7-0 run to restore their lead to double digits.
The Lynx had a 6-0 run to get within 71-67 with 5:52 left, but they didn't score again until Dantas' 3-pointer with 41 seconds to go.
Minnesota was hurt by committing 18 turnovers to Seattle's 11.
Seattle took a 47-41 halftime lead as Canada and Loyd each scored 11 points.
The Storm's Howard was named the WNBA's Defensive Player of the Year earlier in the day.
--Field Level Media
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