Lynx Handle Dream, 94-72
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America saw just how dangerous the Minnesota Lynx can be on Tuesday during their 94-72 win over the Atlanta Dream.
The game was telecasted on ESPN 2 and was hyped up as a possible WNBA Championship preview.
The Lynx, though, looked far superior. That shouldn’t catch anyone by surprise as the Lynx have now won 15 games at the Target Center.
"We love being on TV," said Lynx small forward Maya Moore. "We think we are a really fun team to watch, so we're always here and available if anyone wants to watch us, come on. We were rocking it at the Target Center, the fans were awesome as usual."
Coming into the game, it was unknown how the Lynx would respond after losing Seimone Augustus to a sprained ankle during Sunday's game against Phoenix. We learned real quick that the Lynx are ready to step up whenever a teammate is wounded. It was evident early on Tuesday night.
"Right before the game, we said 'you got to give a little more'," said rookie guard Sugar Rodgers, who played nearly 20 minutes. "Wherever it's coming from, defense, offense... Man down, next man up. You got to be ready at all times. You never know what is going to happen."
They Lynx opened the game taking a 27-22 first quarter lead, mostly due to the team shooting 64.7 percent from the field. Monica Wright, who replaced Augustus in the starting lineup, started off hot, scoring eight points.
The second quarter resulted in more of the same as the Lynx took a 56-39 lead going into halftime. The Dream only lost the second half by five, but the damage had already been done.
Wright finished with a game-high 22 points, while point guard Lindsay Whalen scored 20. It was evident from the get-go that Whalen would be aggressive and she was exactly that. She also added five assists. Moore was third on team scoring 19 points, but she shot 7-for-8 from the field, including three 3-pointers. It was Moore's most efficient game of the season.
Rebekkah Brunson added 10 points to go along with 12 rebounds; it was her fifth double-double of the season.
Dream forward Angel McCoughtry, who came into the game second in the league with 20 points per game, scored just 16 points and was 5-for-19 from the field, being guarded mostly by Wright. Center Erika de Souza scored 14 points and hauled in 13 rebounds, while Jasmine Thomas scored 11 points.
Minnesota now sits at 9-3, while Atlanta is 10-3. Both teams still remain on top of their conferences.
Leader of the Pack: Monica Wright
Could Wright be just as effective as a starter for Minnesota as she’s been coming off the bench?
The answer is no… She was even more effective.
Wright finished with 22 points, but it wasn’t the points that were impressive, it was how she scored those points. Wright was incredibly efficient from the field, hitting 7-of-10 shots and connecting on all eight free-throw attempts. She also added five assists (tied for a game-high) and two rebounds.
Those 22 points were a season-high.
What went under the radar was her impressive defense on McCoughtry, who seemed to struggle to get her game going. The MVP candidate still put up impressive box score numbers (16 points, six rebounds, five assists), but Wright pestered her all game.
"Monnie was obviously impressive," said head coach Cheryl Reeve. "... She played great. Monnie played great, she played poised...It's not a surprise to us when she steps into the starting lineup and does this."
Obviously the Lynx want Augustus back sooner rather than later, they have to be relieved they have a very good player coming into the lineup to replace her. Reeve said Wright could start for most teams in this league. Tuesday night proved Reeve right.
Highlight of the Game
We had ourselves a little Gopher-to-Gopher connection early in the second quarter.
With nine minutes left in the half, forward Dev Peters caught a deflected rebound, heaved it to a sprinting McCarville at half court and the crafty center floated a pass perfectly into the running arms of point guard Lindsay Whalen who finished a layup to give the Lynx a 31-22 lead.
"I had seen Whalen take off and there were a lot of blue jerseys around us and I knew she was running down the court, I mean, that's what Whay does," McCarville said. "I just threw it her way."
Fans went crazy. Probably because of the beautiful pass and the combination that brought them back to 2004 when the two were teammates at the University of Minnesota.
That play started a monster second half in which the Lynx outscored Atlanta 29-17.
Brunson's double-double was the 60th of her career and the 34th in a Lynx uniform.
Those 34 are a team-record, but at this point, Brunson is simply adding onto her own record.
"Yeah, they were numbers." - Shooting guard Monica Wright after being told her numbers after the game.
The Lynx will start a four-game road stretch on Thursday when the travel to take on the Indiana Fever. The game is scheduled for 11 a.m. and will be available for viewing on WNBA LiveAccess and fans can tune in by turning their radio dial to BOB 106.1 FM. The Fever defeated the Lynx in last season’s WNBA Finals. One has to think there will be some emotion in that one.
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