WNBA

Lynx-Storm Preview

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With four regular-season games remaining, the WNBA-leading Minnesota Lynx are already in playoff mode.

They could be preparing to face the Seattle Storm in the first round for a second straight season.

The Lynx try for a sixth consecutive victory in the first of two straight road games against the playoff-bound Storm on Saturday night.

Though Minnesota (23-7) appears in good position to earn home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs, it's not about to coast into the postseason.

"We want to win games," coach Cheryl Reeve told the Lynx's official website. "(The media is) going to talk to them about standings watching and all that kind of stuff. I told them not to listen to (the media)."

The Lynx have won their last five games by an average of 15.8 points, and made a major statement Wednesday when they shot 50.8 percent en route to an 83-74 win over second-place Los Angeles. Seimone Augustus scored 23 points, Maya Moore had 20, Rebekkah Brunson added 11 with 11 rebounds and Lindsay Whalen recorded a career-high 14 assists.

"If you don't turn it up now, I don't know when you're going to turn it up," Augustus said. "We have all been there. We have all experienced the playoffs except for a few rookies we have. I'm going to do what I have to, to make sure we get back in position of winning the championship."

Whalen also has played a key role, and she was rewarded with a multiyear contract extension Friday. The 10-year veteran and Minnesota native is averaging a career-high 14.7 points and 6.0 assists.

Whalen and Augustus each totaled 34 points while Moore had 46 as Minnesota won both previous home meetings with Seattle (15-15) by a combined 41 points last month. Behind 30 points from Moore, the Lynx shot 57.7 percent and made a season-high 41 field goals during a 97-74 rout of the Storm last Saturday.

"Minnesota's the best team in the league,'' Seattle coach Brian Agler said. "There's no question.''

Though the Storm have dropped nine straight regular-season and playoff games in Minneapolis, they won the teams' most recent meeting in Seattle, 86-79 in Game 2 of the first round last year.

Seattle, which has clinched its 10th straight playoff berth, is fourth in the West and could face the Lynx once again to open the postseason. Despite dropping their most recent contest last Saturday, the Storm have won five of seven overall and three straight at home.

"Their goal was to make the playoffs. Now we will reset our goals," Agler told the Storm's official website.

Playing in her last WNBA season, 38-year-old Tina Thompson tied a season high with five 3-pointers and finished with 18 points at Minnesota last weekend. She's averaged 21.0 points while going 11 for 19 from beyond the arc in the last three games.

These teams meet again in Seattle on Tuesday.



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