Lynx beat Storm

Published 8:39 am Friday, June 10, 2011

SEATTLE — Rebekkah Brunson is playing so well right now, even the defending champions couldn’t slow her down.

Brunson had 22 points and 14 rebounds for her fourth double-double in four games, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the Seattle Storm 81-74 Thursday night.

“She’s playing so well,” Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Obviously, a game ball again. We’ve had four games and four times it goes to Brunson. She’s just relentless and the energy she plays with is so contagious for the rest of us.”

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Brunson said she doesn’t pay much attention to the double-double stats.

“I’m just going to keep playing,” she said. “I’m not really a stats person. I’m not focused on that. I think everybody else is a little more focused on that than I am.”

Seimone Augustus added 17 points and rookie Maya Moore had 14 to help Minnesota (3-1) snap an eight-game skid in Seattle. Lindsay Whalen also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists.

The Lynx snapped Seattle’s 18-game regular season home winning streak. The Storm were 17-0 at home last year and won their opener on Saturday. Including the playoffs, Seattle had won 22 straight at home.

Sue Bird scored 24 points and Swin Cash had 18 to lead Seattle (1-1). Three-time MVP Lauren Jackson was held to nine points.

Minnesota scored the first 22 points of the game, holding the Storm scoreless until Jackson’s turnaround jumper with 2:57 remaining in the first quarter.

“We didn’t see that coming,” Reeve said of the lopsided start. “But our defense was pretty good. They missed a lot of shots. And for us to get our early offense, that’s our strength. We’re awfully good when we play off of misses. We’re able to get that ball out quick.”

Bird scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to help cut a 30-point, second-half deficit to six with 29 seconds left. The Lynx then made six free throws to seal the win.

“When you spot someone 22 points it’s always hard to come back,” Cash said. “I will tell you that the message was sent and delivered. Now we go back to the drawing board, watch our breakdowns and just get better.”

Minnesota, which led 50-24 at halftime, last won in Seattle 86-81 in overtime on June 15, 2005.

Brunson had 11 points and eight rebounds in the first quarter, shooting 5 for 6 from the field. The Lynx were 13 of 20 and led 28-8 after 10 minutes.

“Sometimes the ball just goes in,” Moore said. “But I thought we came in with the right mindset and we were ready and prepared. We knew we had to come in with a really tough mindset because it’s really hard to get wins in this place.”

Brunson had a driving layup and a jumper to give Minnesota a 50-22 lead, its biggest advantage of the first half, with 39 seconds remaining.

Brunson had 18 points, McWilliams-Franklin nine and Moore eight as the Lynx practically scored at will in the first half with a mix of jump shots and layups, including several fastbreak baskets as they beat the Storm down the court. Whalen had eight assists.

Jackson and Bird were each 1 of 6 from the field in the first half as the Storm shot 28.1 percent.

“That was just a poor performance,” Bird said. “We came back but that doesn’t mean much. But the world didn’t end. I will get up tomorrow. We all will. That’s the beauty of the season.”

Augustus made a jumper and Moore had a driving layup to increase Minnesota’s lead to 54-24 with 8:18 left in the third quarter.

Seattle didn’t make back-to-back baskets until Bird followed with two jumpers.

The Storm finally made a run in the fourth quarter. Bird hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 74-67 with 41.5 seconds remaining. Jackson then made a 4-footer to make it 75-69 with 29 seconds to go before the Lynx secured the win at the free-throw line.