Indiana Outlasts Minnesota 68-51



Lynx rookie Quanitra Hollingsworth's team-high 14 points were not enough as the Indiana Fever bested the Lynx 68-51 in Saturday's preseason matchup at Claire Lynch Hall in St. Joseph, Minn. Indiana rode the hot shooting of Katie Douglas to claim a 16-12 advantage after one quarter. Minnesota answered back, using a 9-0 quarter-opening run to surge ahead 31-27 at half. Minnesota was led in the second quarter by six points apiece from Charde Houston and Hollingsworth. The Fever took control of the game in the opening stages of the second half, opening the quarter on a 13-0 run to take a 40-31 lead with 6:17 to play in the third. Indiana's lead swelled to 14 points at the end of three. The Fever widened the gap to as many as 21 points in the fourth before eventually claiming the 68-51 victory. Hollingsworth paced the Lynx with 14 points in just under 20 minutes of action. Minnesota's 2009 first-round draft pick Renee Montgomery made her pro debut, scoring seven points and chipping in three assists in the loss. Former University of Minnesota guard Emily Fox got on the board with a three-pointer mid-way through the fourth quarter, and finished with three points and two assists in just under 17 minutes of action. Seimone Augustus played just seven minutes for the Lynx, while starters Anna DeForge, Nicky Anosike and Kelly Miller saw limited action. Lynx guard Candice Wiggins sat out the contest due to a strained left hamstring, but is expected back for the season opener. Katie Douglas' game-high 19 points led the Fever. With the loss, Minnesota falls to 15-14 all-time in preseason play. Minnesota will start the regular season two weeks from today when they take on Chicago on Saturday, June 6 at Target Center. Tip-off for the season opener will be at 7:00 p.m.

Five rookies made their respective debuts for the Lynx on Saturday, combining for 24 points on 8-22 shooting. The fourth overall pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft, Renee Montgomery scored seven points and dished out three assists in a team-high 23:49. 20-year-old Quanitra Hollingsworth scored 14 points and pulled down two rebounds. Emily Fox scored three points, and Rashanda McCants and Aisha Mohammed each went scoreless.

On his overall thoughts on the game...
"There were a couple of mix-ups that we'll go over in the film. Indiana was 7-14 from beyond the arc. Overall we held them to 36 (percent) for the game; at halftime they were shooting only 31 (percent). Those numbers are way better than last year. There were some things I'll take away from this defensively that I was pretty pleased with, but you can't let Katie Douglas slip away for a couple threes like she did. That part has to be corrected. But overall we lost by one on the boards and we held them to 36-percent shooting. The 50 percent from the free throw line can be corrected. I just wanted to see how we could play today. I thought overall we were okay defensively. We gave up 80 (points) last year and we gave up 60 (today) to a playoff team."

On Quanitra Hollingsworth...
"I would say she was one of the bright spots. She hadn't practiced so it was really the first time we got to see her live. There were a lot of positives we'll take out of her game. Obviously she can do things better, but we were pleased with what we saw today. Indiana has some seasoned and very talented posts."

On the post players...
"We need help in the post, there's no doubt about it. We need help on the boards. We were pleased - at halftime we were beating them (Indiana) on the boards. We felt we had gotten some good post play, but it's important to play everybody in the second half. For a while there Hollingsworth and Charde was a good combination."

On the team's strong play in the second quarter...
"We found a combination that was working and I thought defensively we were pretty solid the entire first half. I was pleased with holding them to 27 points and holding them to 31-percent from the field. We got a little something going there in the second quarter and found ourselves with the lead in the first half."

On her initial feelings before the game...
"It was really exciting. My mom and dad were here and I had some family from Minnesota and some other friends come out so it was really exciting. Ashey Ellis-Milan was here, one of my former teammates, and some of my former managers were here."

On her first time entering the game...
"I was so nervous. I was just like 'you've got to let it go.' 'There's no way you can play out there if you're going to be scared'. That was kind of my welcome to the WNBA moment."

On making a 3-point basket...
"I was excited. In the first half I passed on a shot and Coach Z told me I've got to shoot that. So when it came to me that time I was going to shoot no matter what. I'm just glad that it went it."

On the team's overall performance...
"We've been in training camp for one week, but nobody is satisfied with that performance. We had some rookies on the floor a lot of the time and I think everybody gave a complete effort. Now we can see what we have to work towards. We have a lot of improvements to be made and I think that everyone has definitely taken this seriously, but now we see ourselves on the court against another team. Now we see what we're up against. Now we have two weeks to improve upon those things. I think right now we're in a good place. Two weeks is a lot of time and everybody is going to give it their all to improve."

On the positives from the game...
"Ultimately I think with such a new team, it's important to have team chemistry, and I think we have that with this team. I think we're big, which means we're going to be able to give people a lot of problems on the inside. Our guard play is good, so when you put all of that together I think we'll have a really good team."

On the team's play...
"I think we did very well seeing that we only had about two weeks of training camp. I'm definitely a rookie so I haven't had much time myself. I think in time, myself and the other post players are definitely going to be able to work together."

On if being young was a factor at all...
"It wasn't a focus factor to me. I knew they (Indiana) were going to come out and get at me just like any other opponent. They don't factor in how old I am, so obviously why should I. I just have to go out there and play the game."

Minnesota opens the regular season at Target Center on Saturday, June 6 vs. Sylvia Fowles and the Chicago Sky. Tip-off will be at 7:00 p.m. The first 2,500 fans to the home opener, presented by Best Buy, will receive a 2009 magnet schedule. The game will be televised on FS North, with Tom Hanneman and Lea B. Olsen on the call. Lynx radio voice Alan Horton will call the action on the radio home of the Lynx, BOB FM106.

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