SEATTLE — Lauren Jackson scored 16 of her season-high 34 points in the first quarter, and the Seattle Storm rallied from an early deficit to rout the Minnesota Lynx 96-71 on Saturday night.
Jackson was 15-of-22 from the floor, including 7-of-11 during the first quarter. Her last basket of the game was a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Storm (11-7) a 72-51 lead with 2:14 left in the third quarter. She sat out the final 12 minutes as Seattle’s lead never slipped below 20.
Jackson set her previous season high of 33 points on Thursday in an 84-71 victory at home against New York.
“I’m just going out there and doing my thing,” Jackson said. “They caught us off guard (early). We had to sort of switch gears, and we did.”
“We’re not the only team (she has done that against),” Minnesota coach Don Zierden said. “That’s why she’s the most valuable player in the league.”
Seattle’s point total was its highest of the year. Its previous best came on May 22 in an 87-83 victory at Phoenix.
Sue Bird handed out a season-high 11 assists for the Storm, eight going to Jackson. Seattle set a franchise record with 26 assists, breaking its old record of 25 that was set in June 2007 against Chicago.
“I told them how special and important that is — 38 baskets on 26 assists,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “Sue is one of the best. She’s as good as there is at her position.”
Rookie Nicky Anosike had 15 points to lead the Lynx (9-9), who hit seven of their first eight shots to take the a 15-2 lead before Seattle went on a 21-8 run to pull into a 23-all tie by the end of the first quarter.
“They came out and were very ready. They were just attacking right from the jump ball, and it kind of put us on our heels,” said Bird, who also chipped in 12 points. “We were able to snap out of it and go on a run of our own.”
The Storm went ahead to stay at the outset of the second quarter on a 3-pointer from the right of the lane by Katie Gearlds, who tied her career high with 17 points. Gearlds led a bench performance that produced 40 of Seattle’s 96 points.
Jackson scored the last seven points in a 19-6 third-quarter scoring run to give Seattle a 21-point lead, and the Lynx never got within 20 the rest of the night.
“They’ve got Olympians, they’ve got Hall of Famers, they’ve got a great starting lineup,” Zierden said. “So we knew they were going to get back in the game.”
The Storm improved to 10-1 at home, second only to Detroit’s undefeated 7-0 homecourt record.
Seimone Augustus added 14 points for Minnesota, five below her season average of 19.3. Augustus hit six of 10 shots from the floor.
“We thought they’d make their run and then we’d come back with our own,” Augustus said. “After we came out at halftime and they went on their run, it gets you down.
“But at the same time, you still have to fight. After it got up 18 or 20 points, you knew it was basically over after that.”
Candice Wiggins also had 14 for the Lynx, who came in having won three of five after a five-game losing streak.
After hitting just one of seven shots during Minnesota’s early run, the Storm wound up shooting a season-high 57.6 percent (38-of-66). Their field goal total also was a season high.
Minnesota, which hit seven of its first eight shots on the way to its 15-2 lead, wound up at just 41.8 percent (23-of-55).