Professional Basketball

Collier, McBride Lift Lynx Over Storm in 2OT Thriller


Minnesota Lynx guard Courtney Williams tries to tie up Seattle Storm guard Skylar Diggins-Smith during Friday night’s game at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

MINNEAPOLIS – It took an extra ten minutes for the winner of the second Minnesota Lynx-Seattle Storm game of the season to be decided.

The Lynx and Storm, on the second game of a home-and-home series, was all tied 78-78 after regulation, requiring not one, but two, five minute overtime sessions before a winner was declared. Minnesota pulled out a 102-93 victory after strong performances by Lynx forward Napheesa Collier and guard Kayla McBride in the second overtime period. It was a true treat for the 7,208 fans in attendance at Target Center.

Collier opened the scoring with a jump shot, but the 2-0 lead was quickly snuffed out when Seattle forward Nneka Ogwumike nailed on one the other end. Storm guard Jewell Loyd picked off a Collier pass and dished off to guard Skylar Diggins-Smith for an easy layup. The Storm led 4-2 after two minutes of play.

The Lynx tied the score a few minutes later on a Collier jump shot, then exchanged baskets to make the score 6-6. Minnesota went on their first run of the ballgame with two layups by center Alanna Smith, free throws from Collier, and a three-pointer from  McBride. With 4:04 remaining in the opening quarter, the home team held a 13-8 lead after the 7-2 run.

Seattle responded with a run of their own. Forward Jordan Horston scored a jump shot and a tip in following guard Sami Whitcomb’s missed three-point shot. After two Ogwumike free throws and a score from center Mercedes Russell, the game was tied again, this time 16-16 with 2:19 left in the first quarter.

Minnesota went on a longer sustained run, thanks in part to tough defense and the Storm’s inability to protect the ball. Collier, Smith and guard Natisha Hiedeman all scored baskets for the Lynx while holding the Storm scoreless during the last two minutes of the quarter. Minnesota held a 22-16 advantage when the first quarter came to a close.

Even with all starters, except for forward Diamond Miller, on the bench to start the second quarter, Minnesota continued their dominance of the first half. They began the quarter with a 5-0 run starting with a Miller three-pointer.

Minnesota Lynx center Alanna Smith tries to protect the ball after a rebound in the paint as Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd defends. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

The run continued after the starters returned until McBride was fouled by Seattle forward Victoria Vivians while connecting on a three-point play. The basket was good and McBride made the free shot, giving Minnesota a 16-point lead. The Lynx led 36-20 with 5:53 left in the first half.

Again, the Storm fought back. Three-pointers from Whitcomb and forward Ezi Magbegor whittled the deficit to ten, and Whitcomb, Loyd and Magbegor each forced Lynx turnovers. Diggins-Smith and Collier exchanged two sets of free throws. Minnesota led 44-37 at the half. Each team gave up 12 turnovers in the first half.

Neither team was able to gain an advantage in the third quarter. The Lynx maintained a lead that was as large as ten but as low as five. The most exciting thing that happened was when Hiedeman was bringing the ball down the court and made a long cross-court pass to forward Alissa Pili in the corner. Pili, the Lynx first round draft pick, nailed the three-pointer for the first points of her WNBA career. The crowd cheered wildly after the ball made its way through the net as Minnesota led 56-47 with 4:39 remaining in the period.

The Lynx were leading 63-56 when the fourth quarter began. Seattle immediately went on a 5-0 run on a turnaround hook shot by Russell, who was fouled by Pili. Russell made the free shot, and Horston hit a jump shot following a missed Diggins-Smith layup. It was 63-61 in favor of Minnesota with 9:14 left in regulation.

Minnesota pushed another 11-0 run on a step back jumper from McBride plus two layups and a free throw from Collier, a layup from guard Courtney Williams and two free throws from forward Bridget Carleton. The Lynx led 74-61 and the crowd figured that victory was certain.

“Not so fast!” said the Storm. Ogwumike and Loyd hit three pointers. Diggins-Smith, Magbegor and Ogwumike each made free throws. Seattle cut the deficit to seven when Collier tied up Magbegor with 1:20 remaining in regulation.

Magbegor tipped the jump ball to Loyd, who was fouled by Collier. Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve used her coach’s challenge to try to get the foul overturned to no avail. Loyd made the two free throws to cut the deficit to five. Carleton missed an open three-pointer, which was grabbed by Ogwumike, who was fouled by Collier. Ogwumike made both free throws to make the score 78-75 with 1:00 left on the clock.

Minnesota Lynx center attempts to block a shot by Seattle Storm forward Jordan Horston during Friday nights’ game at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

Alanna Smith blocked Loyd’s driving layup, which Carleton grabbed before it went out of bounds. Horton knocked the ball out of Carleton’s hand. It was ruled out of bounds by Horton, giving Minnesota possession. Seattle head coach Noelle Quinn challenged and also failed to get the ruling overturned.

Loyd fouled McBride with a transition take foul with 24.1 seconds left. Even making one free throw would have made the game a two possession game. McBride missed them both keeping Minnesota’s lead at three points.

Clearly irritated at missing two three pointers, McBride accidentally fouled Loyd who was in the process of attempting a three-pointer. She missed the shots but made all three free throws to tie the game 78-78 with only 15.6 seconds left.

Williams attempted a three-pointer but missed. Diggins-Smith rebounded the ball and then called a timeout to give the Storm a chance at a hard fought victory. When play resumed Loyd missed a 16-foot jump shot, forcing overtime.

Seattle led for the first time since 7:58 in the first quarter when Ogwumike hit a 12-foot pull up jumper to begin the overtime period. McBride, fouled by Loyd, made both free throws to tie the game at 80-80.

Diggins-Smith scored a layup, which was followed by a three-pointer by Williams. Loyd made two free throws after being fouled by Williams, and the Storm had a one-point lead again, 84-83.
The arena was stunned when Loyd was called for an offensive foul with 59.2 seconds left on the clock. It was her sixth foul, putting her on the bench for the remainder of the contest. Collier made a short jump shot to give Minnesota the 85-84 lead.

Ogwumike was fouled by Smith. Her two free throws put the Storm back up, but Collier’s driving layup put them back down. Diggins-Smith responded with a driving layup to put the Storm back up, but Ogwumike fouled Collier with 2.7 seconds left. Collier made one of her two free throws to force a second overtime period with the score deadlocked 88-88.

McBride stole a pass from Magbegor which resulted in a Collier three-pointer. McBride then blocked a Horston floating jump shot and then hit a three-pointer of her own. The Lynx were now up 94-88 with 3:39 left in the second overtime period.

Minnesota Lynx guard Courtney Williams scores a fast break transition layup during Friday nights’ game at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

Diggins-Smith scored on a layup and was fouled by Smith. The score was 94-91 with three minutes to go.

McBride was able to find a seam and take a pass from Collier to score an open layup. Diggins-Smith got called for a traveling violation, which the Lynx turned into a three-pointer by Smith. Minnesota now led 99-91 with 1:25 remaining on the clock.

Smith blocked a Magbegor layup and Collier scored on a layup. Minnesota now led by ten points with less than a minute remaining.

Russell was able to score a layup, but time was slipping away from the visiting team. Hiedeman made one of two free throws after being fouled by Diggins-Smith, and Whitcomb missed a three-point shot. Minnesota was up 102-93 when the final buzzer sounded.

Minnesota was 35-for-79 (44.3 percent) from the field; 13-for-30 (43.3 percent) from three-point range; and 19-for-25 (76.0 percent) from the free throw line. They committed 28 turnovers that led to 22 Seattle points.

“We were really good in moments and then we had some tough moments where we put ourselves in different situations. At the end of the day, we found a way to get a ‘W’ at home,” said Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve. “This is a really good game for us to learn from.”

Seattle went 31-for-78 (39.7 percent) from the field; 5-for-20 (25.0 percent) from three-point range; and 26-for-29 (89.7 percent) from the charity stripe. They committed 25 turnovers for 35 Minnesota Lynx points.

“I thought our mentality was strong. We never let the lead dictate hour our posture was,” said Storm head coach Noelle Quinn. “It was a sustained level of competitive spirit and desire. We were locked in with the adjustments that we made throughout the game.”

Seattle held a 40-36 advantage in points-in-the-paint and 14-10 led in second chance points. Minnesota had the 19-12 advantage in fast break points. There were 10 lead changes and nine ties during the game. Both teams combined for 53 turnovers, which is a new league record for most turnovers in a single game.

“I think it was the officiating,” Reeve said tongue-in-cheek to much laughter when the turnover record was brought up. She quickly changed the subject.

Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd tries to block a shot by Minnesota Lynx guard Natisha Hiedeman during Friday night’s game at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

The Lynx were led by 29 points from Napheesa Collier, 19 points from Kayla McBride, while Alanna Smith chipped in 16 and Courtney Williams added 10. Collier led the Lynx in rebounds with nine, and Hiedeman paced Minnesota with seven assists. Smith’s six blocks tied the Lynx franchise record for the most blocks in a game.

“It was gritty. It was a really ugly game but the collective will of this team is really great,” said Collier.

“We started on defense the very first day of training camp. We take pride in winning our home games. I think every team does. For whatever reason, last year we were way better on the road than at home. Our road record was way better. When we are at home, our chant is ‘Our House.’ We have to protect our house, so that’s a really big emphasis,” she added.

The Storm was led by 24 points from Nneka Ogwumike, Skylar Diggins-Smith added 22 and Jewell Loyd pitched in for 20. Jordan Horston and Ogwumike each had a game high 11 rebounds. Loyd dished six assists to lead the Storm in that category.

“I feel like it was just two different games,” said Ogwumike. “I’m encouraged to go from how we played tonight after evolving from [Tuesday] night. I still think that what we saw in the fourth quarter, what we saw in overtime, can be sustained over the course of the game.”

“In the second overtime, I don’t think we started sharp enough. You’ve only got five minutes. For us to play in a double overtime game in the second game of the season, I felt encouraged,” she added.

The Minnesota Lynx (2-0) play at the Connecticut Sun (2-0) on Thursday at 6 p.m. CT. The Seattle Storm (0-2) travels to Washington, D.C. to take on Mystics (0-2) at 2 p.m. CT.


Kayla McBride surpassed the 1,000 rebound mark during the game. She becomes the 11th player in league history to amass more than 4,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 made three-pointers.

Since the beginning of the 2011 season, the Lynx now have a record of 152-7 when holding their opponents below 40 percent shooting. Tonight the Seattle Storm was held to 39.7 percent from the field.

The Storm was without rookie guard Nika Muhl, who is in the process of getting her work visa approved. The Lynx were without Dorka Juhasz, who is still playing basketball overseas. Muhl and Juhasz were teammates at the University of Connecticut last year.

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