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Stewart scores 20, Storm clinch playoff spot

Seattle Storm (KOMO File)

SEATTLE (AP) — Breanna Stewart scored 20 points, Sue Bird had 14 points and 11 assists and the Seattle Storm clinched the first WNBA playoff berth this season with an 85-75 victory over the defending champion Minnesota Lynx on Friday night.

Stewart drove the lane and finished in traffic to give Seattle a 79-69 lead and she had a left-handed layup on the next possession for a 12-point advantage.

Natasha Howard had 15 points, six rebounds and five steals for Seattle (21-7), which recorded its first 20-win season since 2011. The Storm were 7 of 14 from 3-point range in the first half and finished 12 of 24 from behind the arc.

Sylvia Fowles led Minnesota (15-12) with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Maya Moore was limited to seven points on 2-of-9 shooting.

Minnesota opened the second half on a 10-2 run for a 48-39 lead. But Stewart scored six straight points as Seattle outscored the Lynx 22-9 the rest of the quarter for a 61-57 lead.

Seattle had its third sellout in a row with a crowd of 12,064.

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