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WNBA: Sue Bird, Storm seek fourth straight win in matchup vs. Lynx

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The reigning WNBA champion Seattle Storm seek their fourth straight win on Friday, hosting the Minnesota Lynx in a Commissioner’s Cup matchup in Everett, Wash.

Seattle (4-1) began its current winning streak May 20 at Minnesota, rallying from down as many as 19 points in a 90-78 victory. The Storm outscored the Lynx 37-15 in the fourth quarter.

Minnesota (0-3), which returns to action for the first time since that loss, seeks its first win of the 2021 campaign. It will have Napheesa Collier in the lineup for the first time this season.

Collier cleared COVID-19 health and safety protocols last week after returning from playing with French club Lattes Montpellier. Collier, a 2020 All-WNBA second-team selection, averaged 16.1 points and nine rebounds a game a year ago.

“To be so close but to not be able to play with the team is really hard and especially the last game (vs. Seattle),” Collier said at her media availability on Saturday. “We played so, so well for most of the game, then at the end, it just kind of slipped away from us.”

Seattle’s second-half charge at Minnesota preceded a pair of overtime wins over Dallas — 100-97 last Saturday — and 90-87 against Connecticut on Tuesday.

Sue Bird, who scored 21 points against the Lynx, hit four 3-pointers in Tuesday’s win. Breanna Stewart recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

“We’re definitely going through, I guess we’ll call it growing pains,” Bird said following Tuesday’s win. “Which are really just chemistry pains, right? Getting comfortable with each other, understanding each other’s games.”

“I don’t think we’re there yet, but it’s definitely better to be winning games,” she added. “When the game is on the line, we still find ways to focus.”

While Stewart, Jewell Loyd and Jordin Canada helped key last year’s championship run in the Orlando-area bubble, Bird missed most of the campaign due to injury. New contributor Candice Dupree was an offseason acquisition from Indiana, while Katie Lou Samuelson — an addition from Dallas — is out for Team USA 3×3 qualifications.

While Minnesota regains Collier, it loses Aerial Powers. The forward, who is averaging 11 points per game, is out indefinitely with a hamstring strain. Sylvia Fowles is pacing the Lynx early with averages of 19 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

–Field Level Media

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