Four Wins in a Row, Lynx Win 97-74

Kyle Ratke
Web Editorial Associate

Email | Twitter

There was plenty on the line at the Target Center on Saturday night. With just six games remaining on the Minnesota Lynx schedule going into Saturday, the Lynx were only up one game for first place in the West.

While the Seattle Storm weren’t fighting for the No. 1 seed, they were trying to leapfrog the Phoenix Mercury (14-13), a team that had a .002 percentage on Seattle.

The Lynx came away with a 97-74 win over Seattle, while sending a message in the process.

"We did embrace it as a message game. We were at the Target Center. We want to send those messages to every team that plays here. We only had three home games left and now only two," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "We want teams to understand that you're going to have to play really, really well to come away with a win here."

Early on in the game, there wasn’t a lot of defense played. In the first quarter, the Lynx led 31-26, while Minnesota shot 70 percent from the field. That was all dandy, but Reeve paid more attention to the 26 points that were scored against her squad.

Luckily, a lot of defense wasn’t needed on Saturday night. The Lynx continued their hot play going into the second quarter. They closed the half shooting 62.2 percent, making 23 shots.

Lynx vs. Seattle
Ten of those shots were made by Lynx small forward Maya Moore, who went into the break with a game-high 25 points.

Seattle shot 48.3 percent from the field and 60 percent 3-point line, but Moore and company proved to be too much. The second half was more of the same for Minnesota as the Lynx erupted, outscoring Seattle 27-17 in the third quarter.

Moore finished the night leading all scorers with 30 points, while shooting 12-of-15 from the field and 4-of-5 from the 3-point line. That was all in the first three quarters because Moore didn't play in the fourth. Shooting guard Seimone Augustus finished with 16 points, while point guard Lindsay Whalen scored 12.

The Lynx got strong play from their bench. Rookie forward Rachel Jarry had a solid game, finishing with 14 points, while shooting 5-of-6 from the field. Sixth Woman of the Year candidate Monica Wright also pitched in with 10 points, while adding in a team-high seven assists and six rebounds.

Minnesota shot 57.7 percent from the field and had just seven turnovers on the night.

Seattle was led by ageless forward Tina Thompson, who finished with 18 points, 15 coming from behind the 3-point line. Point guard Tameka Johnson added 16, while Tanisha Wright notched a double-double, finished with 11 points and 10 assists.

The Lynx remain one game ahead of Los Angeles (21-8) as the Sparks defeated the San Antonio Silver Stars on Saturday night.

Seattle fell a half-game behind the Phoenix Mercury. If the season ended today, Seattle and Minnesota would match up in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

Leader of the Pack: Maya Moore

When you’re feeling it, you’re feeling it, and over the course of the last month, Lynx small forward Maya Moore has been feeling it.

It started early and often. Moore had a game-high 15 points in the first quarter and while she didn’t quite keep that pace up, she still did pretty well.

Moore finished with 30 or more points for the second time in the last three games and had a +/- of +29, which led all players. She also added five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a blocked shot. What might be more impressive is that none of her shots seemed to be forced and really, were a product of the offense.

"They were all within the flow of the game," Whalen said. "Some hustle plays, some threes. I think that's what makes her such a great player and such a great player. It didn't seem like anything was forced tonight."

Audio: Maya with Alan Horton

Highlight of the Game

Well, technically it wasn’t during the game, but we are going to break some rules here.

Before the game, the Lynx honored Seattle’s Tina Thompson on her last regular season game at the Target Center. Thompson was the first draft pick in WNBA history by the Houston Comets back in 1997. Since then, she’s won four WNBA championships and has been named to nine WNBA All-Star teams.

She’s averaging 15.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game throughout her career. Even at 38, she’s averaging 14 points and six rebounds per game this season.

Before the season, Thompson announced that 2013 would be her last. There is no doubt that Thompson has been an influential member of the WNBA and she will be missed by players, fans and coaches. Heck of a career, Tina. We’ll be seeing you in the Hall of Fame real soon.

"She's the definition of a WNBA pro," Moore said. "One of the reasons I got excited about basketball and the WNBA. The way she's taken care of herself to perform at the level she is. Her professionalism, her willingness to help build into the younger players and those coming after her. Hopefully we can continue to make her proud."

The Numbers Game

  • The Lynx have won their fifth game in their last six, as well as their fourth straight. Minnesota is now 12-2 at the Target Center this season and has won 42 of their last 48 at home.

  • Minnesota finished the game shooting 57.7 percent, including shooting a blistering 70.0 percent in the first quarter and 62.2 percent in the first half. In their last Target Center outing, the Lynx shot a season-high 57.8 percent, its eighth 50 percent or better effort in their last 17 games and 11th overall. Three of Minnesota’s top five shooting nights in club history have come this month, while 13 of their top 15 have been since the start of 2011. The Lynx enter tonight winners of 35 straight when shooting 50 percent or better.

  • The Lynx won the turnover battle, turning 15 Seattle miscues into 25 points while limiting the Storm to just four points off eight Lynx turnovers. The Lynx won the paint battle against the league's best paint defense, outscoring the Storm 34-to-26 in the paint.

  • Quotable

    "I told the group that the game ball was a really easy game ball to give. It went to our bench... The bench practiced against the guys and their momentum is on an upward trajectory and I think Monnie led that group. Monnie was really, really good," - Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve on how impressed she was with the bench scoring 27 points.

    Looking Ahead

    The Lynx have a big matchup on Wednesday, as they host the Los Angeles Sparks. LA sits in second behind Minnesota in the standings. The game starts at 7 p.m. on BOB 106.1 FM, FOX Sports North, WNBA LiveAccess and NBA TV.

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.