Commentary

Storm face uphill climb against Lynx

Best-of-three series opens in Minnesota on Friday (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET)

Updated: September 24, 2012, 10:42 PM ET
By Michelle Smith | espnW

Sue Bird and Maya MooreAP Photo/Stacy BengsMaya Moore and the Lynx went 3-1 against Sue Bird's Storm this season.

On paper, this should be an intriguing matchup between the league's last two champions. But on the court, it might be something less.

The defending champion Lynx (27-7) will be the overwhelming favorite in this series with the league's best record and most consistent play.

Seattle, which is in the playoffs for the ninth consecutive year (a league record), never found its rhythm this summer but enters the postseason on a high note with three straight wins. Both Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson have missed games in the stretch run, taking time off to rest and heal injuries before the playoffs.

In the meantime, Minnesota's stars -- Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore -- will make this an uphill climb for the Storm, especially with Minnesota's home-court advantage.

Key to the series

Moore: The second-year forward out of Connecticut has quickly turned into the league's brightest young talent, scoring at least 20 points in eight games this season. She has been one of the hottest scorers in the league over the stretch run. Last season's WNBA rookie of the year no longer lays back to play a role; she is now a go-to player for the Lynx.

Bottom line

Minnesota wins if the depth carries the day. The Lynx have it and have been blessed much of the season with good health among their key players.

Seattle wins if Jackson shakes off her post-Olympic struggles, aches and pains and comes up very big inside.

Who wins?

Michelle Smith: Lynx in three games. The Lynx are 16-1 at home this season and are simply the better team this year.

Mechelle Voepel: Lynx in three games. Minnesota is the clear favorite to win the WNBA title again this year, but a scrappy Storm team might force the Lynx to win this series in three games.

Michelle Smith

Contributor, espnW.com

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