Sept. 1, 2004
Lynx 72, Comets 64
Toyota Center (Houston)
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Minnesota picked up its first victory in 10 all-time trips to Houston on Wednesday, beating the Comets for the third time in as many meetings this season. Entering 2004, the Lynx had been just 1-16 overall vs. Houston. The game marked the Lynx' Toyota Center debut; Minnesota will return Houston on Sept. 14 to complete the season series.
The Lynx improve to 16-11 on the season, climbing five games over the .500 mark for only the second time in franchise history; they opened the 2000 campaign at 10-5. Coupled with Seattle's home loss to Sacramento on Wednesday, Minnesota pulls within 1.5 games of the second-place Storm (17-9) in the Western Conference playoff race. Among the clubs chasing the Lynx, they hold tie-breakers on both Houston (3-0) and Phoenix (3-1) and have gone 2-1 against Sacramento.
The Comets, meanwhile, saw their four-game home winning streak halted with tonight's setback. The string dated to a 59-56 loss to L.A. on July 10, and included victories over Detroit, Connecticut, Seattle and Indiana. Houston drops 1.5 games behind Phoenix (13-13) and Sacramento (13-13) in the battle for the West's final playoff berth; they have two games left vs. both the Mercury and the Monarchs. The loss was the Comets' 15th of the year, setting a franchise single-season mark; they finished 20-14 in 2003.
Minnesota shot 48.1% from the floor, its best percentage since hitting a season-high 50.0% vs. Phoenix on June 5. It's also the highest percentage allowed by Houston this season, surpassing Detroit's 47.9% effort on July 15. The Lynx hit a torrid 65.4% (17-for-26) in the second half on Wednesday, which ranks as the third-best percentage for one half in club history. Meanwhile, Minnesota's 72-point outburst ended a string of eight consecutive games in which they'd been held below the 70 mark.
Houston was limited to 37.3% accuracy, the ninth time in 14 games Minnesota has held its opponent below 40% from the floor. The Comets were blanked from three-point range (0-for-5) for the second time this year. It's the third straight road game the Lynx have shut out the opposition from beyond the arc; teams are hitting just 20.2% (18-for-89) of their trey attempts vs. Minnesota over the past 10 games.
The Lynx enjoyed a 15-0 edge in bench scoring, led by Amanda Lassiter's 11 points. Minnesota's non-starters have outscored their counterparts in 11 of the past 13 contests, holding a +7.5 ppg advantage (19.2-11.7) in that stretch.
The Lynx had a club-record-tying five players reach double figures, topped by Nicole Ohlde's 16 points; they've been led by a different player in each of the last five games.
Helen Darling scored a season-high 14 points for Minnesota, including eight in the final three minutes, while adding eight assists. Over her past four games, Darling is averaging 9.0 ppg and 5.8 rpg, shooting 48.0% (12-for-25) from the floor. Svetlana Abrosimova matched her season best with 12 points; she's scoring at a 10.5 ppg clip with 5.5 rpg in starting the last four contests, hitting 44.1% (15-for-34).
Sheryl Swoopes' 22 points led Houston, who outscored the Lynx 26-13 from the free-throw line. It's Swoopes' sixth 20-point effort this year; the Comets are just 2-4 in those games. Tina Thompson ended with 19 points and 10 rebounds, her second consecutive point/rebound double-double (31 points/10 rebounds vs. Indiana, July 31). Thompson has scored in double figures in all 19 of her games this year.