SEATTLE -- Storm forward Tina Thompson was blunt, "the system is flawed," she said.
Thompson was talking about media voting when it comes to postseason awards, votes too often based on preconceived assumptions instead of actual merit built during the season. Minnesota point guard Lindsay Whalen could be an example.
Maya Moore scored 20 points and Whalen added 19 as the Lynx defeated the Storm 73-60 to clinch its third consecutive Western Conference regular-season title. Seattle's loss coupled with Phoenix's win against New York solidifies the Storm as the No. 4 seed--facing the Lynx, again, in a best-of-three opening round series next week.
The Lynx (25-7) defeated the Storm in the opening round of the 2012 playoffs (2-1). The Lynx swept the Storm in the four-game regular-season series by an average 17.3 points.
Too often MVP voting is based on numbers. Rank in the top five in WNBA scoring and you are an automatic MVP candidate. Maybe. But what about consistently doing what your team needs to win?
As her steady offensive powers Moore, Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson struggled to get their normal shots, Whalen just scored herself. She was 6 for 8 from the field in the opening half, scoring a game-high eight points in the second quarter to build a 40-28 Lynx lead at the break.
Minnesota outscored Seattle 23-14 in the quarter alone.
Moore took over in the second half to blow open the game. Sixthwoman of the Year candidate Monica Wright scored nine of her final 14 points after the break.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve didn't bother to put Whalen back in the game. It was already won, pushing the team's winning streak to seven.
The Storm (15-17) began to show frustration late in the third quarter, down 57-38 after a jumper from Brunson. It got worse for Seattle at the 1:11 mark; reserve Alysha Clark tumbling to the court with the weight of Brunson on her backside. She left the game with a sprained right ankle after being a bright spot for the team with three three-pointers.
Seattle was already without point guard Temeka Johnson, who missed her first game of the season due to a tender right ankle. She was limited to 24 minutes in Saturday's 15-point loss to Minnesota at KeyArena, finishing 2 of 7 from the field for four points and five rebounds.
Johnson, a nine-year veteran, said her wearing a protective boot is more of a precautionary measure. If it were a playoff game, she'd start. On Tuesday, teammate Noelle Quinn replaced Johnson in the lineup.
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