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Topic: playoffs

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October 2, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Live game thread: Seattle at Minnesota, WNBA playoffs Game 3

SEASON OVER: For the seventh time in the past nine consecutive playoff appearances, the Storm made a first-round exit. Brunson said the game felt like Western Conference Final as it took her defense on Jackson to prevent a possible game-winning 11-foot turnaround jumper with 1.2 seconds remaining in the game. Lynx won 73-72 at Target Center. Minnesota (2-1) advances to play Los Angeles in the best-of-three Western Conference finals at home on Thursday. Seattle returns to its home on Wednesday, holding exit interviews on Thursday. Jackson made a three-pointer to send her team into overtime in Game 2 on Sunday at KeyArena, eventually winning in double-overtime. She finished the series 6-for-19 from the field, but couldn’t pull a miracle twice. The Storm was in a scramble before the play. Down one after a Bird three-pointer and needing a defensive stop, the Storm got one in Little forcing Whalen into a missed 7-footer. Jackson collected the rebound, tumbling over Wright. In transition, Smith didn’t use the Storm’s final timeout as she crossed half-court with about five seconds remaining. Agler stepped in and called one with 3.3 on the clock. A play was designed for Jackson inside. But Bird, after bumping into Jackson in the paint, was open on the wing. With time ticking Smith in-bounded the ball to Jackson. It missed and the season is over. “We should have either called timeout immediately or we should have probably played in transition,” said Bird, who was 7 for 18 from the field for a team-high 19 points. “It’s hard in the heat of the moment. It’s loud. We just weren’t on same page and it’s unfortunate we put ourselves in a situation where we had to find a shot with 3.3 seconds. It could have played out differently. With that being said, we got a pretty decent look, it just didn’t go in…The way the play unfolded, I think Katie felt she was running out of time and saw Lauren. I almost ran into Lauren as I was going to the corner. Either shot we would have gotten between Lauren and myself would have been a good look. I think our mistake came — and that’s all of us — is we weren’t on the same page. That’s what’s most disappointing. It’s very unlike us…What’s the point in dribbling up and calling a timeout? It just waste time that at that point we needed.” It’s hard to nitpick the game much further. Augustus (19 points) was 6-for-8 from the field in the second half and still the Lynx only won by one. Whalen again struggled in leading her team, getting tagged for fouls early that took her out of the game and shooting 2-for-9 overall. And still the defending champion Lynx only inched ahead of the Storm to the conference finals. Wauters said the reality of the loss hadn’t sunk in. The team started the season 1-7, dealt with numerous injuries and player absences and still it even had a chance. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have this team at the beginning of the year,” said Bird of a regular-season that finished at 16-18. “If this is what we look like? I don’t know, a couple weeks all together, imagine what it could have been like. Now, obviously, you never know.”

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October 1, 2012 at 9:00 AM

News and Notes from Game 2 of the Minnesota-Seattle Western Conference playoff series

StormCrazies.jpgUPDATE: In case you haven’t heard, Minnesota Timberwolves G Ricky Rubio purchased 500 tickets to the Lynx (1-1) decisive Game 3 playoff game against the Storm (1-1) on Tuesday. He gave them away Monday morning. Prior to Friday’s Game 1 at Target Center, teammate Kevin Love did the same and the Lynx reported a sellout (9,213).
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Storm fans may be bopping into work on Monday, hoarse but ecstatic about a 86-79 double-overtime playoff win against Minnesota at KeyArena on Sunday. The victory tied the best-of-three opening-round Western Conference series between the WNBA’s past two champions at one game apiece. A decisive Game 3 is Tuesday.
Veteran forward Tina Thompson doesn’t see your excitement. Pushing for extra time on a machine to help stave off pain in her left knee that was sprained in July, she was still in grind mode.
“I think I would have to be a fan of this game to find the entertainment in it,” she said. “It’s kind of far away from me right now. I guess I can understand if I’m watching an NBA game or something like that, you enjoy the intensity of it or the nerves and all that type of stuff. Yeah, for a fanatic it’s great.
“For this game, no, I’m not feeling the entertainment. It was a tough, physical game. When you’re down in and you’re focused and you’re in grind-mode, for me, (entertainment) is the farthest thing from my mind. I don’t care how it looks, I just care about the results.”
Of Game 3, the 16-year veteran was very succinct. Thompson, who’s under a two-year contract with Seattle, won four consecutive titles with defunct Houston (1997-2000).

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September 30, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Live game thread: Seattle at Minnesota, WNBA playoffs Game 2

STORM WINS: Columnist Steve Kelley wrote about Seattle’s loud week of screaming celebration. He should have waited until Monday’s paper. The Storm defeated the Lynx 86-79 at KeyArena before 8,479 Storm Crazies. Check that. Screaming Maniacs that didn’t want the season to end. It was the turbo boost Seattle (1-1) needed in a game that saw 11 lead changes and nine ties. Many might have thought the game was over in the first half when the Lynx built a 13 point lead in the second quarter. Augustus scored 14 of her final 20 points in the third quarter. But the Storm’s defense increased its pressure, holding the Lynx to 23.1 percent shooting in the fourth quarter. Agler began to call simpler plays and Jackson, Wright and Bird all made clutch three-pointers to salvage a season that started off at 1-7 and faced 10 different lineups due to the players combining for 30 missed games due to injuries. Seattle hadn’t even won when behind all season. Still, it won to force a decisive Game 3 on Tuesday at Target Center. The winner plays Los Angeles (2-0) in the Western Conference Finals possibly beginning Thursday. “The Key is tough a tough place to play as it is with nothing at stake,” Minnesota coach Cheryl Revee said. “Now you add to it that it’s win or go fishing? You fully expect that they’re going to give their best effort…We stalled and we stalled in a really bad way. Seattle’s defense is very good.” Bird, who missed the final four minutes of Game 1, finished with a team-high 22 points on 8 for 15 shooting. Wright added 18 on 5 of 8 while Jackson had nine points (4-for-17) and 14 rebounds. The monster game went to Brunson, however, she had a team-high 22 points with 15 rebounds — seven on the offensive glass. But Minnesota’s streak of seven consecutive playoff wins is dust. Seattle will try to make the Lynx (1-1) season that, too. “It’s always nice to rewind things four, five or six times,” said Agler of tweaks going into Game 3 from watching film. The Storm will rise around 5 a.m. for a 8 a.m. flight to Minneapolis. “We’re excited about the opportunity to go back to Minnesota,” he said.
SIX POINTS: Don’t know what it is with the six-point deficit, but we’re at it again. The Storm is down 59-53 at the end of the third quarter. Jackson hit her past two buckets, good sign? Wright leads with 15 and Bird has 12. Augustus has 19 and six boards. Moore has only scored two points since the break. I’m out to write the newspaper version. It’s win or this is it for the Storm. Now or see you in 2013.

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September 28, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Live game thread: Seattle at Minnesota, WNBA playoffs Game 1

STORM LOSES: Blogging system went out, again. But probably would have shut down anyway given the tight finish to the game. Bird opted to sit out the final four minutes, wanting the lineup on the floor to continue its solid play. Smith and Wright nearly pulled out an upset, but plays to setup Jackson didn’t connect. Jackson, playing in her 10th WNBA game, missed an open three-pointer and an 11-foot jumper that combined could’ve cut the Lynx lead to one point with 33.2 seconds left in the game. Instead, Seattle lost 78-70 to Minnesota in the best-of-three playoff series. However, if Seattle (0-1) would have made the 10 free throws it missed (13 of 23) or a few more of the three-pointers it lobbed at the net (7 for 24), it wouldn’t have needed the late-game heroics. “There are just so many things that we can do better,” Agler said. “I don’t know if it’s frustrating. We put ourselves in a whole early. Got back…we missed some free throws. We missed some open looks. We couldn’t keep them off the free throw line in the third quarter. Those things were factors.” Game 2 moves to KeyArena on Sunday at 6p.m. PT on ESPN. “We like playing at KeyArena,” Revee said. “We’re a team that thrives on that environment. But I know this, Game 2 will look nothing like Game 1.” Whalen led all scorers with 20 points and Augustus added 19 for the Lynx (1-0). Jackson had one point in the second half, finishing with 12 along with Smith. Stricklen had team-high 13 points off the bench with seven boards and two assists.
LEAD GROWING: Minnesota is 6-for-8 from the field to start the second half, building a 48-35 lead. It’s shooting 50 percent overall.
QUICK TIME: Wright missed a three-pointer, Little turned the ball over and Agler had seen enough. He called for a timeout after Augustus scored under the hoop untouched. There’s 8:42 remaining in the third quarter and the Lynx have matched their game-high lead at 10 (37-27).

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September 19, 2012 at 6:16 PM

WNBA’s Western Conference playoff schedule set

The Storm will make its WNBA-record ninth playoff appearance on the road against top-seed Minnesota on Sept. 28. Game 2 for the best-of-three series is Sept. 30 in Seattle. Game 3, if needed, is Oct. 2 in Minneapolis. Seattle (14-18) has two games remaining this season, hosting its final home game against San Antonio on Friday….

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September 9, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Storm clinches WNBA-record ninth consecutive playoff berth

SeattleStorm.pngHost Indiana beat Phoenix 89-83 on Sunday. The loss coupled with two Seattle wins in a home-and-home stand against Tulsa (6-22) this weekend helped the Storm clinch a WNBA-record ninth consecutive postseason berth.
F Camille Little was a big part of Seattle clinching with seven games remaining in the season.
“I think she has a good chance to be WNBA Player of the Week with these two performances,” Storm coach Brian Agler said of Little averaging 17.0 points on 61 percent shooting from the field (13-of-21) against Tulsa this weekend. Little also averaged 6.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists against the Shock.
“I feel like a point guard!” Little joked after orchestrating a career-high seven assists in Thursday’s win at KeyArena. The Storm beat the Shock 89-66 on Saturday.
Seattle tied Los Angeles with its eighth playoff appearance last year. The Sparks reached that mark from 1999-2006. LA didn’t advance last year and the Storm swept the Sparks 2-0 in the opening round of their eventual 2010 WNBA championship.

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