Seattle Storm to Begin Title Defense at Home against the Minnesota Lynx
SEATTLE - After delivering Seattle a third WNBA Championship in 2018, the Seattle Storm will begin its title defense at home facing the Minnesota Lynx. The Seattle Storm Playoffs Presented by Symetra commences Wednesday, Sept. 11 at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Wash. The single-elimination first round tips off at 7 p.m./PT on ESPN2. Doors will open at 6 p.m./PT and the first 3,000 Storm fans in attendance will receive a free t-shirt courtesy of Symetra.
"We are thrilled to tip off our playoff run on our home court with the support of our fans and partners," said Storm CEO and GM Alisha Valavanis. "In a season of unique challenges, the Storm community has rallied behind our team to give us the best and loudest crowd in the WNBA."
The 2019 campaign marks the fourth year of the current WNBA playoff format, in which the top eight teams in the league qualify for the postseason, regardless of conference. After posting an 18-16 record in the regular season, Seattle earned the No. 6 seed in the playoffs. Since the WNBA moved to the current playoff format in 2016, Seattle is 0-2 in the single-elimination rounds. Last season, Seattle clinched the No. 1 seed to earn a double bye to the semifinals.
"Symetra is proud to have been a part of the Storm's 20th season and to support their 15th playoff appearance. The grit, guts and grace this team has displayed game after game this season has been inspiring on so many levels. We're excited to join Storm fans everywhere in cheering on the team as they begin their playoff run!" said Trinity Parker, senior vice president, Marketing, at Symetra.
The Storm holds an all-time playoff record of 25-24, including 3-4 against the Lynx. During the 2019 regular season, Seattle prevailed in three of four games against the Minnesota, highlighted by July 17 win at Target Center in which Natasha Howard scored a career-high 33 points.
Despite missing 11-time WNBA All-Star Sue Bird and reigning WNBA MVP and WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart for the entire season due to injuries, the Storm battled to a playoff berth behind several breakout contributors. In only her second year as a regular starter, Howard compiled an MVP-caliber year with a league-leading 74 steals, the highest mark in a single season in Storm history. The 2018 WNBA Most Improved Player also led the team in scoring (18.1 PPG), rebounding (8.2 RPG) and blocking (1.7 BPG). In June, Howard joined Stewart and Lauren Jackson as the only players in franchise history to be named WNBA Western Conference Player of the Month. The 6-foot-2 forward was later voted to her first WNBA All-Star Game, where she started for 'Team Wilson' opposite Storm guard and two-time All-Star Jewell Loyd. In addition to her career-high 33 points against the Lynx, Howard also opened the season with a personal best 16 rebounds on May 25 vs. the Phoenix Mercury,
Starting in place of the injured Bird, second-year point guard Jordin Canada averaged 9.8 points and a team-high 5.2 assists per game. Despite missing several games due to various injuries, the former UCLA standout swiped 68 steals, trailing only Howard for most in the WNBA. On July 12, Canada dished out a career-high 12 assists without a turnover, joining Bird as two of only six players in WNBA history to accomplish the feat.
Already known for her impenetrable defense, Alysha Clark blossomed into a threat from beyond the arc with a league-best 48.1 three-point field goal percentage. In doing so, Clark surpassed Jackson's 2004 mark for the highest three-point percentage in a single season in Storm history. On Aug. 11, Clark tallied a season-high 21 points on perfect 7-of-7 shooting, her second of two perfect outings this season.
Facing a win-or-go-home situation, the Storm encourages fans to pack the house at Angel of the Winds Arena. Fans can purchase tickets by visiting StormBasketball.com or by calling (206) 217-WNBA (9622).
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