Professional Basketball

McBride’s Record Setting Night Sinks Storm


Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier drives into a crowded lane as her teammate Alanna Smith looks on during Sunday’s game against the Seattle Storm at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota Lynx guard Kayla McBride turned frustration into opportunity late in the third quarter, to lift the Lynx to an 83-64 win over the Seattle Storm in front of an announced crowd of 7,121 at Target Center Sunday night.

The Lynx and Storm, meeting for the third time in this young season, struggled to get going from the start. Minnesota forward Napheesa Collier was fouled Seattle center Ezi Magbegor 31 seconds into the contest. Collier made one of two free throws to give the home team the 1-0 advantage, but neither team scored until Minnesota forward Bridget Carleton nailed a three pointer two minutes later.

The scoring began in earnest as Storm guard Jewell Loyd connected on a pull up jumper, and forward Nneka Ogwumike scored on a cutting layup to tie the score 4-4 with 6:58 left in the first quarter.

After the tie, Minnesota went on a 9-3 run with a short jumper and two free throws from Collier and McBride’s first three-pointer of the game. The Lynx largest lead of the quarter was seven points, but Seattle closed out the quarter on a 7-2 run of their own. Minnesota led 21-20 as the first quarter came to a close.

The Lynx began the second quarter with a 6-0 run with a layup from forward Dorka Juhasz, jump shot from forward Cecelia Zandalasini, and free throws from center Alanna Smith. This was matched by a 7-0 Seattle run with free throws from Loyd and Magbegor, a three pointer from forward Jordan Horston and a Magbegor jumper. The score was tied 27-27 with 5:31 left in the second quarter.

The Storm, fighting for a chance to stay alive in the Commissioner’s Cup competition, extended their 7-0 run to 14-0, before Lynx guard Courtney Williams was able to stop the run the a jumper with 3:08 left in the quarter to make the score 34-29 in favor of the visitors. Minnesota committed two shot clock violations and a back court violation during the Seattle run.

Minnesota Lynx guard Courtney Williams blocks a shot by Seattle Storm forward Nneka Ogwumike during Sunday’s game at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

The teams traded small runs and went into the half with Seattle maintaining a five-point 41-36 lead. McBride, who finished the game with 32 points, scored 11 points in the first half, all in the first quarter.

The atmosphere at Target Center changed during halftime. Both teams came out of the locker room with a more serious attitude, as if they were both locked in on Game 5 of the WNBA Finals.

The teams traded baskets. Collier sank a jump shot. Ogwumike made one. Carlton and McBride made three-pointers, but Seattle kept responding with scores of their own. They were tied 45-45 when Storm head coach Noelle Quinn protested a foul against Magbegor with 6:01 left on the clock. She was assessed a technical foul by referee Kevin Fahy. McBride sank the free throw to put the Lynx up by one point.

Minnesota’s lead lasted 61 second before Loyd scored on a running pull up jump shot. McBride answered with a three-pointer, but Loyd followed that up with a driving bank shot. They were tied 49-49 with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter.

Collier hit a three-pointer to put the Lynx up by three points. Loyd responded with one of her own but missed. Seattle got the rebound and the officials took a timeout after Courtney Williams committed a loose ball foul with 3:42 on the clock.

When play resumed, Storm guard Skylar Diggins-Smith missed a finger roll layup, which was rebounded by Lynx forward Dorka Juhasz. Shortly thereafter, McBride went up for a 12-foot jumper which was blocked by Seattle forward Jordan Horston. McBride, miffed at the no call, complained to referee Kevin Fahy to no avail.

Seattle Storm forward Jordan Horston blocks a shot attempt by Minnesota Lynx forward Bridget Carleton with 1.4 seconds left in the third quarter during Sunday’s game at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

McBride then took the inbounds pass into the lane for an underhanded finger roll layup. Diggins-Smith and Loyd each missed shots for Seattle. McBride nailed a three-pointer on Minnesota’s next possession for the 8-0 run and the 57-49 lead as the crowd erupted with cheers.

Loyd was fouled by Juhasz, converting one of two free throws, and Ogwumike scored a putback layup after a missed shot by Horston, to cut the deficit to five.

With 7.5 seconds left in the third quarter, Loyd went in for a driving layup, which was blocked by Collier. Lynx guard Olivia Epoupa grabbed the rebound and passed to Carleton. She put up a driving layup which was blocked by Horston with 1.4 seconds remaining on the clock. Epoupa grabbed the ball, gave it back to Carlton who hit a seven-foot fadeaway bank shot as time expired. The Lynx led 59-52 after three quarters.

Epoupa opened the fourth quarter with a steal off of Storm guard Sami Whitcomb. She passed to Collier who hit a fadeaway jump shot to give the home team the nine point lead.

Seattle slowly whittled the deficit away with some key stops and shots made by Ogwumike, Loyd and Diggins-Smith, whose jump shot with 5:38 made the score 65-60 in favor of the Lynx.

It was McBride who answered the call for the Lynx once again. She responded with two free throws after a foul by Magbegor, and two three-pointers. Carlton also added a three as Minnesota jumped out to a 13-2 run. The Lynx led 78-62 with 2:14 remaining on the clock.

Minnesota Lynx guard Kayla McBride shoots a three-pointer over the outstretched arms of Seattle Storm guard Skylar Diggins-Smith during Sunday’s game at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

The Storm, with limited time to get into contention again, lost their composure. Ogwumike scored a layup with two minutes left on the clock, but was called for her fifth foul, a reach in foul against Collier, 15 seconds later. Tempers continued to flare between the teams as Courtney Williams and Ezi Magbegor were yelling at each other. Referee Roy Gulbeyan assessed Magbegor with a technical foul during the scrum. McBride made the technical free shot and Minnesota was up by 15 with 1:45 left in the contest.

Both coaches cleared their benches with substitutes during the next stoppage in play. When the final horn sounded, the Lynx won by a final score of 83-64. Minnesota finished the fourth quarter on an 18-4 run and had outscored their opponent 24-12 in the final ten minutes of play.
Minnesota went 27-for-60 (45.0 percent) from the field; 12-for-22 (54.5 percent) from three-point range; and 17-for-21 (81.0 percent) from the free throw line. They had 25 assists on 27 made shots. The Lynx turned the ball over 18 times leading to 12 Seattle points.

“They [Storm] were finding their way to some easy ones. I thought we cleaned it up in the second half, so we needed to find our way,” said Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve. “We took care of the ball better. We came out in the third quarter and we scored the ball. We needed to be more fundamentally sound in finishing plays.”

Seattle shot 26-for-75 (34.7 percent) from the field; 4-for-22 (18.2 percent) from three-point range; and 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) from the charity stripe. They had 12 assists on 26 made field goals. The Storm committed 14 turnovers leading to 10 Minnesota points.

Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier and Seattle Storm forward Nneka Ogwumike tangle with 1:45 left in regulation during Sunday’s game at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

“Offensively we were trying to attack and do the correct things. It just wasn’t our day today,” said Storm head coach Noelle Quinn.

Seattle had a 30-26 edge in points-in-the-paint and a 13-10 differential in fast break points. Minnesota held a 14-10 advantage in second chance points. There were four ties and four lead changes.

“We were moving and things like that. It’s just hard when you’re constantly going through a lot of contact,” said Seattle guard Jewell Loyd. “It’s tough because you don’t…that’s what stops the rhythm, it’s the contact. We’ll get more aggressive. It’s basketball. Things like this happen. We’ll get better.”

The Lynx were led by Kayla McBride’s 32 points. Napheesa Collier added 19 points and Bridget Carleton chipped in 13. Collier led all rebounders with 14. Alanna Smith and Olivia Epoupa each dished a game-high seven assists for Minnesota.

“I was pretty upset about the foul call,” McBride said about her end of third quarter rally.” I wanted to stay aggressive. I felt like I needed to take one more step. We needed another little burst. I was just trying to remain aggressive in whichever way I could.”

The Storm were led by 25 points from Jewell Loyd and 14 points from Nneka Ogwumike. Ezi Magbegor and Loyd each pulled down seven boards. Diggins-Smith each dished three assists.

“We weren’t scoring and they were scoring,” said Loyd. “They got stops. We didn’t. We got some good looks. Some didn’t fall. We obviously can’t go quarters scoring 11 and 12 points and allow their team to score more than us.”

McBride wasn’t the only one who was irritated by the loose officiating. Quinn, who was called for a rare technical foul, addressed the officiating.

Minnesota Lynx guard Courtney Williams (l) and forward Alanna Smith (r) cheer the substitutes on during the last minute of Sunday’s game against the Seattle Storm at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

“It’s very unfortunate that our two most aggressive players to the rim shot zero free throws today,” said Quinn. “It felt like a playoff game with the physicality and the back and forth. The two quietest people in this organization both got techs.”
“I…my demeanor is always going to be calm. I want to be positive for my team, but there is a reason why I got a tech, and it’s warranted obviously because of my response. But I don’t want people to think that I’m soft or that our team is soft,” she added. “Ezi’s [Magbegor] not soft. She’s quiet but she’s not soft. She’s defending her teammate. Things that other people might get away with because their temperament is different than mine, I don’t. I take to that in stride. I understand who I am and who I want to be for my team, but we’re not going to back down period.”

It was a career night for McBride. She went 7-for-10 from three-point range bringing her two-game total to 15-for-23. This ties the two-game record of 15 three-pointers set by Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi in September 2020 when the season was played at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., during the COVID shutdown. Taurasi went 15-for-28 in back-to-back games during a stretch where she set a WNBA record of 28 three-pointers in five games, a mark that McBride could tie or surpass this week. McBride currently leads the WNBA in three-pointers made with 43, three-point shooting with 51.2 percent.

“I’m just having a lot of fun,” said McBride. “At the end of last season and overseas, until now, I just kind of found my flow at this point in my career. I’ve just been trying to capitalize on it. There’s a lot of joy, a lot of peace, and I’m having a lot of fun.”

This was the third meeting between the teams this season and breaks the Seattle six-game winning streak. Three of the four Seattle losses have come at the hands of the Lynx, who now hold a 156-7 record when holding their opponent to under 40 percent shooting.

Minnesota (8-3) travels to Las Vegas to take on the Aces (5-4) at 9 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Seattle (7-4) hosts the Los Angeles Sparks (4-7) at 5 p.m. CT, also on Tuesday.

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