Seattle Storm surge past Minnesota Lynx for 2-0 series lead in WNBA semifinals

BRADENTON, Fla. – Jewell Loyd scored 20 points and the Seattle Storm beat the Minnesota Lynx 89-79 on Thursday night to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 WNBA semifinal series.

Loyd had 10 points in a 12-0 run to end the first half, including consecutive 3-pointers, for a 46-33 lead and the Storm led the rest of the way, fending off multiple Lynx charges.

Loyd’s 3-pointer with 5:15 left in the third quarter gave Seattle a 21-point lead. The Lynx finished the period with a 21-6 run to cut it to 68-62. The Storm again rebuilt double-digit leads only to see Minnesota cut them to single figures, the final time with 2:14 remaining.

The second-seeded Storm, who beat No. 4 Minnesota in the series opener on Alysha Clark’s last-second putback, have a chance to sweep the series Sunday.

Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird, center, celebrates after a three-point basket against the Minnesota Lynx during Game 2 of their semifinal series. (Photo: Mary Holt, USA TODAY Sports)

Breanna Stewart, 0 of 7 from the arc, finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Seattle. Clark added 13 points and Natasha Howard 11. Sue Bird, with seven points, made an early 3-pointer that gave her 86 in playoff games, good for sixth on the league’s career list.

Damiris Dantas made five 3-pointers and led the Lynx with 23 points. Odyssey Sims added 18 points, Napheesa Collier, who missed the majority of the first half in foul trouble, finished with 12 points after scoring 25 in Game 1. Crystal Dangerfield had 10.

Collier made a statement on behalf of the players before the game decrying the “outrageous and offensive” outcome of Wednesday’s news that a grand jury did not indict any police officers on charges directly related to the death of Breonna Taylor. Collier said the players will continue to work for “full and complete justice.”

[email protected] gives a statement on behalf of the players of the WNBA. #S[email protected]/aUfUPqykb4

WNBA Playoff schedule

First round — Single elimination

No. 7 Connecticut Sun 94, No. 6 Chicago 81

No. 5 Phoenix Mercury 85, No. 8 Washington Mystics 84

Second round — Single elimination

No. 4 Minnesota Lynx 80, No. 5 Phoenix Mercury, 79

 No. 7 Connecticut Sun 73, No. 3 Los Angeles Sparks 59

Semifinals — Best-of-5

(*-if necessary; All times ET)

No. 1 Las Vegas Aces vs. No. 7 Connecticut Sun

Series tied 1-1

Game 1: Connecticut 87, Las Vegas 62

Game 2: Las Vegas, 83, Connecticut 75

Game 3: Thursday, 9:30 p.m.

Game 4: Sunday, 1 (ESPN)

*-Game 5: Tuesday: 7 or 9 p.m.

No. 2 Seattle Storm vs. No. 4 Minnesota Lynx

Storm lead series 2-0

Game 1: Seattle 88, Minnesota 86

Game 2: Seattle 89, Minnesota 79

Game 3: Sunday, 3 p.m. (ESPN)

*-Game 4: Tuesday, 7 or 9 p.m.

*-Game 5: TBD

Finals — Best-of-5

(*-if necessary; All times ET)

Game 1: Friday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Game 2: Sunday, Oct. 4, 3 p.m.

Game 3: Tuesday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m.

*-Game 4: Thursday, Oct 8, 7 p.m.

*-Game 5: Sunday, Oct. 11, 3 p.m.

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