Alanna Smith scores career-high 22 points as Lynx beat new Storm 83-70

SEATTLE (AP) — Alanna Smith scored 16 of her career-high 22 points in the first half, Napheesa Collier scored seven of her 20 points during a decisive fourth-quarter run, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the Storm 83-70 Tuesday night. , spoiling the Seattle debuts of Skylar Diggins-Smith and Nneka Ogwumike.

Smith carried the Lynx in the first half before Collier took over late, and Minnesota relied on its defense to frustrate the Storm on a tough night on the offensive end. Seattle’s Jewell Loyd, the WNBA’s leading scorer last year with 24.7 points, was held to 10 points on 3-of-19 shooting.

“Seattle is a good team and I feel like we really stopped them in the second half, especially,” Collier said. “Just covering for each other, really working as a unit and when we do that, it’s really fun.”

The opening was supposed to be the unveiling of the Storm’s new look after finishing with the second-worst record in the league at 11-29 last season following the departure of Breanna Stewart in free agency and the retirement of Sue Bird.

Bird, who recently joined Seattle’s ownership group, was at his seat on the field for the opener to see how Diggins-Smith and Ogwumike were fitting in with their new team. Diggins-Smith returned to the court after missing the 2023 season while on maternity leave and Ogwumike left Southern California for the first time in her WNBA career to sign with Seattle after sitting out her first 12 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks.

These were shaky beginnings.

“It’s a new team,” Seattle coach Noelle Quinn said. “And while, yes, we have great players on this roster, it takes time. … What it showed is we have a lot of work to do and that will come as we build through the games and the adversity that will come. We will be better.

Ogwumike finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, and Diggins-Smith added 10 points. But Seattle was just 1 of 9 from 3 and committed 17 turnovers.

“They came out more aggressive in that fourth quarter, in my opinion. At least that’s how I felt,” Ogwumike said. “We’ve thought a lot about how to change our plans and I think it’s more about just going out there and doing it aggressively the first time.”

Minnesota led 63-60 in the fourth quarter and outscored Seattle 20-10 in the final quarter. Collier scored seven straight points early in the fourth quarter as Minnesota extended its lead to 74-62, and Kayla McBride’s 3-pointer from the wing gave the Lynx a 15-point lead with 4:12 to go. play.

Smith, who signed a two-year contract after spending last season in Chicago, had only reached the 20-point mark once before in his career.

“It was a fun first outing,” Smith said.


Seattle did not reveal its brand new look as rookie Nika Mühl was held back due to pending visa approval. Mühl was the 14th pick in the second round of last month’s WNBA draft and Seattle created a spot on its roster by trading Jade Melbourne to Washington in exchange for a future draft pick.


The teams will meet again Friday night in Minnesota for the Lynx’s home opener.



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