Smith's buzzer-beater:
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Sheri Sam ranked second on the team in scoring with an average of 11.0 ppg and third in rebounding at 4.2 rpg.
David Sherman, WNBAE/Getty Images

Suzie McConnell Serio led the Lynx to a franchise-record 18 wins and their first-ever playoff berth in 2003.
David Sherman, WNBAE/Getty Images

May | June | July | August | Playoffs | 2003 in review

The Lynx started August at home with a dramatic win over Seattle. Katie Smith sank a running jumper from the right baseline as time expired, lifting Minnesota to a 73-71 victory over the Storm. The game-winning basket with no time remaining marked just the third time in franchise history that the Lynx have won a game in the final five seconds, and the first at Target Center. After the game, the two teams had identical 14-11 records but Minnesota's record against Seattle was 3-0 in 2003, clinching the season series and giving the Lynx the tiebreaker over the Storm.

Minnesota then recorded its team-record seventh consecutive home victory. Sheri Sam and Janell Burse combined for 27 second-half points and the Lynx held off the Mercury, 61-56. The Lynx drained all 20 of their free-throw attempts including 12 in the final 1:46 to set a team record for most free throws made without a miss. With the win, Minnesota tied its franchise record for wins in a season with 15.

Facing Phoenix again two days later, this time at America West Arena, Minnesota was handed a loss. The Lynx closed to within two with 2:32 to play, but Phoenix sealed the victory with five free throws, coming out on top, 56-49. Continuing on its three-game road trip, Minnesota faced another loss, in Seattle. The Lynx twice cut the deficit to two but saw their final chance disappear when Amanda Lassiter corralled a missed free throw as time expired as Seattle avoided a sweep of the season series with Minnesota.

Minnesota finished its road trip with a crucial matchup in Sacramento. The two teams were fighting for fourth place (and the final playoff spot) in the Western Conference, with Minnesota holding a half-game lead over the Monarchs. Smith scored 27 points and Sam added 20 as the Lynx overcame a 10-point deficit in the final six minutes to pull out a 77-73 victory, the team's franchise-record 16th of the season. In addition to the boost in the standings, the win gave Minnesota the head-to-head tie-breaker in the season series (3-1).

Minnesota returned home to face another tough matchup with Los Angeles. The Lynx led by as many as eight points in the first half, but the Sparks closed to within two at halftime and took the lead with 11:39 to go. L.A. led by as many as nine points with 3:46 and 2:40 remaining but the Lynx came back, closing to within two on Tamika Williams' layup with 15.8 seconds remaining. But the Sparks' Tamecka Dixon sank a pair of free throws to seal L.A.'s win, 87-83. The loss snapped the Lynx' franchise-record seven-game home winning streak and was the 15th consecutive loss to the Sparks. With 13 points in the game, Sam became the 25th WNBA player to record 2,000 points.

The Lynx traveled to San Antonio and came away with a 73-64 win, sweeping the season series. After the game, Minnesota's "magic number" to clinch a playoff berth was reduced to three. Minnesota moved on to face Phoenix five days later. The previous night, fifth-place Seattle lost in Houston, so the Lynx' magic number was two and during the game in Phoenix, the Storm fell in overtime in San Antonio, reducing the magic number to one. The Mercury never led but used a 17-2 run to forge a 61-61 tie with 1:19 left. The Lynx went up four with 15 seconds remaining off two free throws from Williams, but the Mercury's Anna Deforge hit a three-pointer to close the gap to one. Smith then hit a pair of free throws and Burse blocked a last-second three-point attempt as the Lynx earned their first-ever playoff berth with a 69-66 victory, the team's 18th of the season.

Minnesota closed out the regular season with two losses, in Los Angeles 88-65 and at home to Detroit. Against the Shock, Smith scored a key basket in the closing seconds to force overtime, but Detroit came out on top, 86-77. The Lynx finished the regular season with an 18-16 record, setting team records for overall wins and home wins (11) and tying a team record for road wins (7). Minnesota finished fourth in the Western Conference, setting up a first-round matchup with the top-seeded and two-time defending champion Los Angeles Sparks.

Lynx Game-By-Game Results August 2003
Game Date Opponent Result Record High Pts High Reb Attendance
25 Aug 2 Seattle W 73-71 14-11 Burse 20 Burse 12 6,555
26 Aug 4 Phoenix W 61-56 15-11 Sam 18 Sam 7 5,223
27 Aug 6 @ Phoenix L 49-56 15-12 Williams 12 Burse 9 8,282
28 Aug 8 @ Seattle L 65-68 15-13 Smith 20 Williams 12 8,494
29 Aug 9 @ Sacramento W 77-73 16-13 Smith 27 Abrosimova 6
Edwards 6
30 Aug 14 Los Angeles L 83-87 16-14 Abrosimova 15 Burse 7 8,379
31 Aug 16 @ San Antonio W 73-64 17-14 Smith 17 Abrosimova 10 11,890
32 Aug 20 @ Phoenix W 69-66 18-14 Burse 16
Smith 16
Williams 7 9,757
33 Aug 21 @ Los Angeles L 65-88 18-15 Abrosimova 15 Abrosimova 5 8,784
34 Aug 23 Detroit L 77-86 (OT) 18-16 Smith 19 Williams 8 12,747