MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Tina Charles had 23 points and nine rebounds, Jewell Loyd scored 21 points and the Seattle Storm secured the No. 4 seed in the WNBA playoffs with a 96-69 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Friday night, spoiling Sylvia Fowles’ final regular-season home game.
Seattle (22-13), which closes the season on Sunday against first-place Las Vegas, will host a first-round series next week against the Washington Mystics. Minnesota (14-21) plays at Connecticut on Sunday, hoping for the final playoff spot.
Fowles, who helped Minnesota win two WNBA titles, retires as the league’s career leader in field-goal percentage, rebounds and double-doubles. Fowles came out of the game with two minutes left after recording another double-double and the referees stalled so the crowd could give her a standing ovation. Fowles was also celebrated after the game during a ceremony.
“Coming into this season, I didn't want none of this attention but as the season went along I realized how much love and how much appreciation these fans have for me across this league and I never want to take this for granted,” an emotional Fowles said after the game. “So thank you guys for everything that y'all done throughout my career. It's been an amazing ride and I appreciate y'all.”
Seattle jumped out to a 30-10 lead in the first quarter and it was 45-28 at halftime. Charles scored 14 points in the first half, Loyd added 12 and Breanna Stewart had 10 points and eight rebounds. Seattle led 89-59 with three minutes left.
Stewart finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Briann January added 11 points for Seattle. Loyd set a franchise record with her 73rd 3-pointer of the season, passing Sue Bird’s 72 in 2016.
Fowles. who passed Rebekkah Brunson for first on Minnesota's rebounds list, finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota. Aerial Powers scored 12 of her 18 points in the fourth quarter and Bridget Carleton added 11 points.
Seattle coach Noelle Quinn returned after being in the league’s health and safety protocols following a positive test for COVID-19.