Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart scored 17 points each to lead the host Seattle Storm to a 97-74 win over the Minnesota Lynx on Friday night in the WNBA season opener for both teams.
Stewart, a two-time WNBA Finals MVP, played her first game since ending last season early due to a foot injury.
Seattle’s Sue Bird, starting her 19th WNBA season at age 41, had 11 points and a game-high nine assists.
The score was tied 41-41 at halftime before Seattle dominated the third quarter, 34-14.
Minnesota played without two-time WNBA All-Star Napheesa Collier (pregnancy). In addition, the Lynx were without Kayla McBride (overseas), Angel McCoughtry (knee) and Damiris Dantas (foot).
Lynx center Sylvia Fowles, the WNBA’s career leader in rebounds who is playing the final year of her career, had 16 points and four boards. Aerial Powers scored all 14 of her points in the first half, and Jessica Shepard had a game-high 12 rebounds for the Lynx.
Seattle, which played its past three seasons without a permanent home, made its debut at remodeled Climate Pledge Arena. It’s also the home of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken.
Loyd’s fadeaway jumper from the right baseline produced the Storm’s first points in their new home.
Minnesota led 20-18 after the first quarter despite shooting just 40.9 percent from the floor and allowing Seattle 50 percent accuracy. But the Lynx kept Seattle from making 3-pointers (0-for-3) while Minnesota shot 2-for-8.
Seattle scored five of the second quarter’s final seven points, forging a tie at halftime.
The Storm started the third quarter on a 10-0 run that they stretched to 18-2 and led to a 75-55 advantage by the end of the period.
After that, the fourth quarter was a mere formality as Seattle cruised to the win.
For the game, Seattle shot 53 percent from the floor, including 12-for-25 on 3-point attempts.
Minnesota hit 39.2 percent from the field, including 4-for-21 (19 percent) from long range.
–Field Level Media