Storm clinch playoff spot but fall to Lynx

Sylvia Fowles posted 29 points and 20 rebounds, and Napheesa Collier scored seven of her 18 points on crucial baskets down the stretch Tuesday night to lead the Minnesota Lynx to a 76-70 win over the Seattle Storm in Minneapolis.

Despite the defeat, Seattle clinched a spot in the WNBA playoffs earlier in the day.

It marks the sixth consecutive season in the playoffs for the Storm, who have won two of the past three championships.

After winning their last game with six players scoring in double-figures, the Lynx (15-9) relied heavily on the two-player attack of Fowles and Collier to upend the defending WNBA champions.

Fowles registered a season high for rebounds and fell one short of her scoring season high.

With Minnesota holding a 68-64 lead with 2:27 remaining, Fowles blocked a layup attempt by Seattle’s Jewell Loyd. On the ensuing possession, Collier nailed a 3-pointer to extend the Lynx lead to seven points, and Minnesota held on.

Minnesota led most of the way thanks to a 25-14 first quarter, but Seattle (18-8) whittled away at the gap.

The Storm — playing the last of five consecutive road games — cut the deficit to just one point twice in the fourth quarter despite a dismal 37.8 percent shooting night from the floor.

Seattle’s shooting woes were exemplified by All-Star Breanna Stewart, who went 6 for 23.

She did make all five of her free throws to finish with a team-high 18 points.

Stewart also grabbed 16 rebounds to pace Seattle to a 41-37 advantage on the glass despite Fowles’ outstanding effort.

Loyd finished with 15 points for visit the site Storm and Sue Bird added 10, but the two shot a combined 10-of-26 from the floor.

Minnesota’s shooting was only slightly better at 42.4 percent, and the Lynx were outperformed at the 3-point line.

But the Lynx went 15-of-16 from the foul line compared to 6-of-7 for Seattle.

It marked the second time in as many games Minnesota enjoyed an edge at the free-throw line, one game removed from being on the negative side of foul-shot disparities in successive losses last week to Connecticut.

–Field Level Media

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