Palmer keys Storm win over Lynx
Seattle Times staff reporter
The whistle was blowing hard at KeyArena on Tuesday.
And this time it was a positive as the sound effect is used to signify Storm reserve Wendy Palmer's hard work on the court. With visiting Minnesota trying to overcome a three-point deficit at the end of the third quarter and Storm starting center Ashley Robinson in foul trouble, Palmer helped the Storm pull out an 81-67 win.
"It wasn't necessarily the best game of basketball," said Palmer, who scored seven of her season-high 13 points in the fourth quarter. "We had a lot of things that did not happen as we had planned, but the important thing is that no matter how ugly it was, we weathered it and were able to pull together to get a win."
The Storm (16-17) wanted to play better defense against the last-place Lynx (8-24), which beat Seattle by 21 points last week.
Seattle had 20 turnovers, which Minnesota cashed in for 26 points, and was outscored 32-26 inside despite having the bigger lineup.
But the play of Palmer, and starters Iziane Castro Marques and Lauren Jackson, who each had six points in the fourth quarter, helped the Storm overcome its ills.
Ahead 50-47 after the third quarter, the Storm went on a 11-4 run to build a 61-51 lead. Minnesota cut the deficit to six after a driving layin by All-Star Seimone Augustus, but back-to-back three-pointers by Palmer and Jackson made the score 70-59 with 3:48 left.
"At the end, when two people make a three and you're like, 'Oh my God, I made a shot!' that's when you know it's a bad game," said Jackson, who was in Australia with her family when the Storm lost in Minnesota last week. "I don't know how we pulled it out."
Jackson led her team with 18 points, enough to retain her status as the league's leading scorer (23.5). Augustus, her closest challenger, finished with a game-high 28 points on 11-for-20 shooting to improve her average to 23.0.
Palmer's inside help was welcomed as Jackson, a six-time All-Star, appeared more sluggish than on Saturday, when she played 27 minutes and scored 24 points after a 20-hour return trip to Seattle from Australia and learning her grandmother died Friday. The Aussie said it normally takes a few days for her to recover from the trip.
To get back into game shape, Jackson wanted to play in the final games even though Seattle had already qualified for the postseason. The Storm ends its season Friday against Los Angeles.
"I don't feel like I'm back to myself whatsoever," Jackson said. "I just need to get out there."
The Storm, which won its third consecutive game at KeyArena, is off today and will resume its practice schedule on Thursday.
"When things aren't going great, shots aren't falling, the offense isn't flowing and you still come up with a win -- those are good wins," said Storm coach Anne Donovan.
Minnesota used an 11-2 run to close the opening half and trailed 40-37 at halftime. Augustus, last season's rookie of the year, had seven of her 16 first-half points during the spurt.
Palmer, who views herself as a utility player doing what it takes to help the team win, helped Seattle hang on with nine second-half points.
"Just great energy," said Donovan of Palmer, an 11-year vet. "[When] she has nights like tonight, it helps take the pressure off Lauren and Ashley."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com
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