Sunday, the Seattle Storm and Minnesota Lynx will tip-off Game 3 of their best-of-five semifinal series.
But now the question is:
Is it time to get out the broom?
The No. 2 seeded Storm defeated the No. 4 Lynx in the series opener thanks to an Alysha Clark last-second putback, and now after Thursday’s 89-79 win, Seattle has a chance to sweep the series Sunday.
But this veteran Storm team doesn't want to let Game 3 Sunday turn into a big rally from the Lynx. They're ready to finish the series in three and they know how important and difficult the closeout game can be.
“The third one is the toughest to try to close a team out,” Storm Coach Gary Kloppenburg said following Thursday’s victory. “They’re desperate. They don’t want to go home. They’re going to come out with a lot of energy. You can’t let down. You almost have to trick yourself in thinking that you’re down two. That’s the kind of mindset you have to go in to have the sense of urgency to close a team out in that third game.”
Not to mention, Minnesota is no stranger to making big comebacks.
They even charged back in Game 2 after Seattle’s 13-point halftime lead grew to 21 in the third quarter, pulling within five late in the third.
There’s no quit in Minnesota.
Plus, the Storm are all too familiar with holding a commanding 2-0 lead in the semifinals and not finishing out the series in three games.
In the 2018 WNBA playoffs, the Storm, who were a No. 1 seed at the time, defeated the No. 5 seed Phoenix Mercury at KeyArena in Game 1 and 2.
And then the momentum swung in favor of Phoenix as the Storm went on the road.
The Mercury blew out the Storm by 20 points in Game 3 and then forced a Game 5. Now Seattle did end up winning the series and were the eventual 2018 WNBA Champs, but, they’re hoping not to repeat the 2018 semifinal series slump in Game 3.
Luckily for Seattle, guard Jewell Loyd has been extremely efficient on offense and has been a go-to player for the Storm.
She’s all business right now.
And it’s about focusing on the small things in Game 3 for Loyd.
After Thursday’s win, Storm forward Breanna Stewart said that this team has “a ton of confidence.”
“We haven’t peaked yet and we don’t want to peak yet,” Stewart said. "We want to continue to get better each game… There’s still that run that we have -- those daggers that really separate us that we haven’t been able to knock down.”
It’s clear, the Storm are dialed in on returning to the WNBA Finals for the second time in three years.
Seattle and Minnesota will tip-off Game 3 at noon PST Sunday on ABC.