Seattle Storm

Seattle Storm clinch first-round bye in WNBA Playoffs

Seattle Storm

The Storm used a big third quarter, in which they outscored their opponent 31-20, to take control of the game Sunday afternoon en route to a 103-88 victory over the Minnesota Lynx (13-6). 

With the victory, the Storm (16-3) clinch a first-round bye in the WNBA Playoffs and remain atop of the WNBA standings with a 1.5 game lead over the No. 2 seed Las Vegas Aces (13-5). 

Storm point guard Jewell Lloyd credited her team's difficult recent schedule, that included many playoff-contending teams, and her coaching staff for preparing her and her team for the postseason.

"You definitely want to be playing at your best heading into playoffs," Lloyd told reporters following the win. "We want to have these tough games and we want to be playing well in these tough games and I think we've been really prepared going into every single game... that's the biggest thing you've got to be prepared... Much credit to our amazing staff making sure we're ready for every game."

For interim head coach Gary Kloppenburg, the victory was another step towards getting his team to increase its play heading into the postseason. 

"Our major focus is just getting ourselves playing the best basketball we can by the end [of the season]," said Kloppenburg. 

Sunday's victory was a team effort with four starters scoring in double figures but no single player eclipsing 20 points: Natasha Howard had 19 points, Breanna Stewart had 18 points, Jewell Loyd had 16 and Alysha Clark had 15 points. 

 

Sue Bird was the lone starter to not score double figures with eight points on 2-7 from the field although she dished out seven assists. 

The performance of the starting lineup should not be a shock as Sue Bird, Alysha Clark and Breanna Stewart currently occupy the top-three spots in individual plus-minus in the WNBA with the two remaining starters in the top-seven. 

Next, Seattle will take on the Dallas Wings on Wednesday, September 9th at 7 p.m. PT on CBS Sports Network and JoeTV, before a rematch with the Phoenix Mercury on Friday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. PT.