The Seattle Storm moved one step closer to securing the top seed in the WNBA playoffs with an impressive 103-88 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday in Bradenton, Fla.
With the victory, Seattle (16-3) extended their lead at the top of the Western Conference standings to 1 1/2 games ahead of the Las Vegas Aces. Minnesota (13-6) moved a half game behind the Los Angeles Sparks for the fourth seed in the playoffs.
The Storm had five players in double figures with Natasha Howard leading the team with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
Damiris Dantas continued her solid stretch of play with a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds for the Lynx.
Seattle took a lead early on in the first half and continued to build it, but Minnesota stuck within striking distance. The Storm led by as many as 13 points late in the second quarter at 43-30, but Minnesota closed to within 45-38 at the half.
The Storm took over in the third quarter, shooting 10 of 16 from the field. Seattle essentially put the game away by outscoring the Lynx 31-20 in the third.
Minnesota's manageable seven-point deficit turned into a daunting 18-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter.
The Lynx managed to trim the deficit to 10 points late in the fourth quarter, but it was far too late.
Seattle's defense forced Minnesota into a season-high 24 turnovers.
Brianna Stewart had 18 points for the Storm while Jewell Llyod added 16 points and seven assists. Alysha Clark had 15 for Seattle, while Ezi Magbegor had 12.
Seattle's Jordin Canada, second in the WNBA in assists per game, missed her second straight game due to a right knee injury.