Lynx Open Up Preseason With 82-66 Win

Kyle Ratke
Web Editorial Associate

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The Minnesota Lynx started their 2014 campaign with some unfamiliar faces on both benches. Minnesota was without four of its starters, while it was playing the Australian National Team on Monday night at the Target Center.

The result, though, was a pretty familiar one for the Lynx as they won 82-66 over the Opals in an exhibition game.

“Pretty good game for us,” coach Cheryl Reeve said. “What I told the group, they worked really hard throughout the first week of training camp, from the 27th on through. What I appreciate the most is the improvement that we’ve shown.”

Midway through the first quarter, it was pretty ugly, to be generous. That’s expected, though, with three new starters in the starting lineup for the Lynx - including two rookies.

Despite the rustiness, the Lynx came out of the first quarter with a 20-13 lead. Rookie Asia Taylor was particularly impressive it the first, getting to the basket on back-to-back possessions. She made the first layup and got to the line for the second. She finished with four points in the quarter. Maya Moore added six, while Tan White added five.

Things got a little less sloppy in the second, at least for the Lynx. The defending champions forced 18 turnovers at the half, and outscored the Opals 39-25 at the end of the first two quarters. Maya Moore led the way with eight points, while Waltiea Rolle added a bench-high seven points. Laura Hodges led the Opals with six points.

Things got a bit interesting in the third. Near the end, the Opals trailed by just one, 50-49 with 30 seconds left. Of course Moore was there to make sure it didn’t get any closer. The All-Star hit a 3-pointer to close out the quarter to give the Lynx a 53-49 cushion going into the fourth quarter.

Despite the third-quarter scare, the Lynx were able to tighten things up in overtime and come away with the win.

“Not as a clean as we would have liked,” Moore said. “I thought still, a good effort… The team’s mindset was still there just like always.”

Rookie post Waltiea Rolle had a team-high 17 points to go with five rebounds for the Lynx. Moore had 14 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and six assists. Tan White and Taylor had 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Gabrielle Richards and Rebecca Allen had 17 points each for Australia.

Leader of the Pack: Maya Moore

She was the only returning starter in the game for the Lynx, and she played like it. The MVP candidate finished with 10 points, seven steals, five assists and four rebounds. Talk about a nice all-around game for Moore. We have a feeling we can expect quite a few of these nights for the Olympian in 2014.

Highlight of the Game

With 1:42 left in the first quarter, Moore delivered a pass that resulted in rookie Christina Foggie’s first basket as a pro. Moore led the fastbreak, faked a pass to Tricia Liston and hit Foggie in-stride for the layup on the right side of the hoop. It gave the Lynx an 18-12 lead.

The Numbers Game

  • The first quarter ended with 20 combined turnovers. In total, there were 49 total turnovers. Next time we would prefer apple turnovers.

  • Maya Moore had six first-half steals.

  • All six rookies that played for the Lynx scored.

  • Quotable

    “Yeah, I think Asia shows what she likes to do. A little more of a warrior type… She’s going to fight you tooth and nail.” – Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve on Asia Taylor’s game. Taylor is fighting for a roster spot and with the recent new of Dev Peters’ injury, the post play will be highlighted.

    Looking Ahead

    The Lynx battle the Phoenix Mercury on Friday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports HP Field House in Kissimmee, Fla., as part of the league’s first-ever WNBA Preseason Tournament.

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