Three Takeaways: Lynx at 100 as they improve to 7-0

Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles goes for a layup against the San Antonio Stars. Photo by Abe Booker, III
Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles goes for a layup against the San Antonio Stars. Photo by Abe Booker, III /

Earlier this week, the Minnesota Lynx got a private screening for “Wonder Woman” as part of a marketing deal. On Saturday night, they embodied the film’s title in a rout of the Seattle Storm at Key Arena, winning 100-77.

Minnesota matched their franchise record for most first half points, taking a 64-39 lead at halftime. What was touted as the toughest test yet for the Lynx became another testament of their brilliance. There is no shortage of awe-inspiring wonder, and each game increasingly illustrates Minnesota’s wealth of talent.

Another ode to Syl

Should “Wonder Woman” get a sequel, Sylvia Fowles would make a terrific sidekick. Minnesota’s trusty center destroyed Seattle’s interior defense in the first half. Taking advantage of one-on-one coverage, Fowles racked up 26 points and seven rebounds in the first 20 minutes. She was unable to augment those totals in the second half, but her job was done.

Her consistent dominance of the paint has made virtually every Lynx recap into an ode of her abilities. Few secrets surround the 31-year-old; she continuously places herself in a position to convert high-percentage shots. Whether she powers through her defenders or snakes around her coverage to get a layup, Fowles can inflict a lot of carnage.

The data demonstrates how effective Fowles is in 2017: she has yet to shoot below 50 percent in a game, and she has already amassed five 20-point games this season. With the Lynx fully in sync, look for Fowles to keep getting touches until someone can stop her.

An ode to Brunson and Whalen

Seattle adjusted their defensive scheme in the second half, doubling Fowles when she touched the ball. That should prevent the Lynx from scoring, right? Wrong. Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsay Whalen took over. Brunson scored a season-high 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting, getting buckets down low and even knocking down a three-pointer.

As the saying goes, when you apply a double team, someone has to be open. Brunson was the beneficiary, and her performance is a reminder of the risk opponents run if they concentrate their defense on one player.

Strong outside shooting can also keep a defense honest, and Whalen offered just that. She hit 8 of 10 shots en route to 19 points, including three triples. The 35-year-old has embraced her new role as a perimeter threat, and although she’s not the primary option on Lynx offensive schemes, she’s still a darn good choice.

Seattle’s big-name players come up short

Entering the game, Seattle was riding a four-game winning streak, leading to considerable anticipation about what their top players could do against Minnesota. Ultimately, they were all held in check. Sue Bird couldn’t find her stroke from three-point range, and she managed just eight points. Jewell Loyd scored a season-low 10 points. Breanna Stewart had trouble finishing in the paint, going 5 of 16 from the floor. Although she scored 14 points, she has yet to find her groove down low.

Not even Sami Whitcomb could help the Storm stay within reach. In the previous two games, the 28-year-old rookie made 9 of 12 three-pointers. On Saturday, she was unable to shake free of Minnesota’s defense, coming up scoreless.

The Storm had good outings from Alysha Clark and Crystal Langhorne, but their lack of depth compared to the Lynx was evident. Catching the Lynx on a night where they shot nearly 60 percent didn’t help matters.

Storm fans shouldn’t be too discouraged though. Their team accomplished quite a bit in their stretch of five straight home games, staking their claim as a potential sleeper team this season. With a solid core and a pleasant surprise in Whitcomb, Seattle shouldn’t take too long to form another winning streak.