Game: Minnesota Lynx (17-4) at Seattle Storm (10-11). When: 7 p.m. Tuesday. Where: KeyArena. Meeting: Fourth (Minnesota, 2-1). TV: ESPN2 Radio: 1090 AM
Sue Bird was back at practice and Lauren Jackson was back in Seattle Monday. That still isn’t full strength for the Seattle Storm, which figures to be important against the defending WNBA champion Lynx.
Winners of four in a row and led by three Olympians, Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen, the Lynx appear to be the class of the league. If the playoffs were held today, the No. 1 seed in the West would play the No. 4 seed — the Storm.
But since the playoffs aren’t until late September, Bird and Jackson may be a tandem again by then.
Jackson, the three-time WNBA MVP and flag-bearer for the Australia delegation at the Olympics, arrived late enough from Down Under that she didn’t practice Monday and won’t play Tuesday. Bird is booked for the starting lineup after a bout with stomach flu that combined with her emotionally exhausting Olympics schedule to keep her out of Saturday’s loss to the Los Angeles Sparks, who completed a five-game sweep of the Storm this season.
Center Ann Wauters also remains out with a tear in her Achilles.
Minnesota has a 2-1 series lead but was surprised the last time the Lynx were in Seattle June 17, where a franchise-record 10-game winning streak was ended by the then-struggling Storm, 65-62, after earlier wins by 13 and 24 points. Bird had a game-high 21 points and Tanisha Wright added 12, but defense led the way, holding the Lynx 37.5 percent from the field.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said her club actually enjoys playing in Seattle.
I like where our team is, Reeve said. And I like that well really embrace that environment, playing in Seattle. We actually like playing there. We didnt think we handled their physicality last time we played them, and were anxious to see what we can do this time.
Head Coaches: Storm head coach Brian Agler is in his fifth season with Seattle. Cheryl Reeve, the reigning Coach of the year after posting a 27-7 record in 2011, is in her third year in Minnesota.
SEATTLE STORM 2012 SCHEDULE/RESULTS
|5/18/12||vs. Los Angeles||L||66-72||0-1|
|5/22/12||at Los Angeles||L||61-74||0-2|
|6/3/12||at Los Angeles||L||65-67||1-4|
|6/9/12||at San Antonio||L||67-80||1-6|
|6/22/12||vs. San Antonio||W||82-76||4-7|
|6/30/12||at New York||L||59-77||6-8|
|7/7/12||at Los Angeles||L||59-83||7-9|
|8/18/12||vs. Los Angeles||L||82-71||10-11|
|8/26/12||vs. New York||—||—||—|
|9/14/12||at San Antonio||—||—||—|
|9/21/12||vs. San Antonio||—||—||—|