Wednesday Practice Report
By Philip Rossman-Reich
The Lynx returned home in a big way Tuesday night with a 69-57 win over the Liberty. Minnesota got a big push late in the third quarter to take as much as a 23-point lead in the game to improve to 5-3. But one player who struggled against the Liberty was the team's second-leading scorer, Charde Houston.
Houston, who is averaging 15.0 points per game this season, struggled with foul trouble against New York. She posted a season-low two points and one rebound in 12 minutes while committing four fouls. She shot just one of eight from the floor and scored less than 10 points for the first time all season.
"It just goes to show things don't always go well every night," Houston said. "I wasn't worried about scoring. We've had issues with team defense and that's what I wanted to do. I got two fouls... but it's just about being aggressive and being on the same page with the team as a whole."
Houston struggled Tuesday playing aggressive defense, but the team showed a dramatic improvement on the defensive end against New York.
Defense was the keystone of the two practices leading up to Tuesday's game against the Liberty. Coach Jen Gillom said the team did not even run through the offense for long stretches in recent practices to focus on improving the team's defensive mentality. Minnesota is giving up an average of 82.1 points per game, fourth worst in the league. Defense will again have to be the focus with the high-scoring Phoenix Mercury up next Saturday at 7 PM at the Target Center.
Houston said the team has worked on its focus on defense and its communication to make the improved effort. The Lynx held the Liberty to 35.1 percent shooting, the lowest a team has shot against them this season.
Gillom said after Tuesday's game how important it was for the team to defeat New York to build its confidence. Minnesota definitely received the message in bouncing back from a crushing loss to Seattle to end its West Coast road trip last week and winning the team's first game since Seimone Augustus' injury.
"It just goes to show that you're going to lose games, it's just a matter of how you bounce back," Houston said. "It's another example of having that focus and having the energy and everybody being there to support each other. It just goes to show the game can look totally different as opposed to if you're not on the same page without communication, it looks like you have never played the game."
Charde Houston Audio
Charde Houston struggled with foul trouble against the Liberty on Tuesday, but she said her and the team's focus on defense helped it pull through for a victory.
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