Storm clinch first WNBA playoff berth

first_imgSEATTLE (AP): Breanna Stewart scored 20 points, Sue Bird had 14 points and 11 assists, and the Seattle Storm clinched the first WNBA playoff berth this season with an 85-75 victory over the defending champion, Minnesota Lynx, on Friday night. Stewart drove the lane and finished in traffic to give Seattle a 79-69 lead, and she had a left-handed layup on the next possession for a 12-point advantage. Natasha Howard had 15 points, six rebounds and five steals for Seattle (21-7), which recorded its first 20-win season since 2011. The Storm were 7 of 14 from 3-point range in the first half and finished 12 of 24 from behind the arc. Sylvia Fowles led Minnesota (15-12) with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Maya Moore was limited to seven points on 2-of-9 shooting. Minnesota opened the second half on a 10-2 run for a 48-39 lead. But Stewart scored six straight points as Seattle outscored the Lynx 22-9 the rest of the quarter for a 61-57 lead. Seattle had its third sell-out in a row with a crowd of 12,064. DREAM 89 SKY 74 ATLANTA (AP): Angel McCoughtry scored 21 points, Tiffany Hayes added 19, and the Dream beat the Sky. Atlanta closed the third quarter on a 6-0 run, for a 64-59 lead, and held Chicago to 4-of-17 shooting in the frame. Hayes and Alex Bentley each made a 3-pointer on Atlanta’s first two possessions of the fourth quarter for a 70-59 lead, and the Dream led by at least seven points the rest of the way. Jessica Breland had 13 points and nine rebounds for Atlanta (17-10). The second-place Dream are three games back of Seattle (20-7) in the playoff standings and one game ahead of Los Angeles (16-11). Courtney Vandersloot led Chicago (10-18) with 24 points, seven assists, and four steals. Allie Quigley was held to eight points. Vandersloot sank a running 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer, capping Chicago’s 9-0 run for a 43-42 lead. She had 16 points in the first half, including 3-of-3 shooting from 3-point range.last_img read more