Lynx Break Fever, Win 84-77
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Maya Moore is a pro when it comes to fielding media questions and putting together insightfully methodical responses. She’s always putting together thoughtful replies about the game while deflecting credit and never putting herself in the spotlight.
So even on a night in which she put together her greatest WNBA scoring performance yet—35 points on an efficient 15-of-21 shooting en route to an 84-77 Lynx victory over the Indiana Fever—Moore was slow to divulge too much about the performance. Was she in the zone? Does her release feel just a little bit different on nights like this? Does her confidence rise throughout the game?
“When the ball’s going in, you can’t help but feel confident,” Moore said. “The key when you are feeling good is to stay composed and stay within yourself. I was just trying to be smart and take my shots that I work on and I know I can make.”
Moore was masterful from start to finish on Saturday, piecing together a performance that was anything but subtle. She was seemingly anywhere—so much so that Fever standout Tamika Catchings said it was a prime example of how the Lynx are a pick your poison type team. On nights when All-Stars Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson aren’t putting up big numbers, other All-Stars like Moore and Seimone Augustus can lead the way and dominate.
And that’s what happened.
It was the first time the Lynx faced Indiana at Target Center since last year’s WNBA Finals, when Indiana did something in Game 1 only one team had done all season long: Beat Minnesota on their home court.
Saturday felt like a playoff-type atmosphere on the court, too, but for different reasons. The Fever are trying to secure a playoff spot after an injury-riddled season. The Lynx, having dropped four of six, are trying to get back on track.
Minnesota did just that on Saturday night, not only hitting the accelerator at times and pushing their lead to double digits but also showing the resilience and resolve to handle Indiana’s comeback attempts.
The Lynx never trailed and led by as many as 10 in both halves, but with just under five minutes left in the fourth the Fever made their run. After Moore was called for a Flagrant-I foul at the 8:25 mark, Indiana put together 12-7 run to knot the score at 72-72.
True to form, Moore stepped up. She hit a go-ahead 3-pointer that gave Minnesota the lead for good.
That type of resolve has been a key ingredient in the Lynx’s consecutive Western Conference titles. Saturday proved the team is ready to showcase that type of perseverance again down the 2013 stretch run.
“There was no ‘oh, no’ feeling,” center Janel McCarville said. “That is one thing about this team is that regardless where we are, up or down, I don’t think we really panic. Even in past games like in Atlanta, we dug ourselves a deep hole and we dug our way out of it. Unfortunately we weren’t able to win in the end but even in that game there was no ‘oh no’ factor whatsoever and this game was the same. Every person on this team has confidence on each and every player who steps on the court. Maya step up majorly tonight. Anything she had thrown at the basket went in. We were just talking about if it didn’t go in it went right back to her and she threw it up again. It was one of those nights.”
Augustus put together another effective offensive performance, scoring 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting. McCarville finished with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and was 2-of-3 from behind the arc. Whalen had nine points and Brunson had seven.
Catchings led the way with 22 points for the Fever, while Shavonte Zellous had 19, Layshia Clarendon had 11 and Briann January had nine.
Leader of the Pack: Maya Moore
Maya Moore was doing her thing all night. That’s not anything new by her standards, but she did take it to a new level on Saturday as she notched a career-high 35 points. She did it efficiently in a not-so-subtle manner, finishing 15-of-21 from the floor, knocking down 3-of-4 3-pointers and adding eight boards, four steals, three assists and two blocks. “Basketball is a game of runs, mistakes and successes,” Moore said. “You want to try to just stay even-keeled, use the good stuff for momentum and fix the bad.”
Highlight of the Game
After a back-and-forth start to the fourth quarter in which Minnesota led by as many as seven before Indiana put together a 7-0 run to tie the game, Moore once again hit a shot that essentially took Minnesota to the next level. Her 3-pointer with 5:54 to play not only put the Lynx ahead for good, but it helped jumpstart a 10-0 run that gave Minnesota a comfortable cushion down the stretch. From that shot moving forward, the Lynx outscored Indiana 12-5 to end the game.
The Numbers Game
“Typical Indiana game, where you pop a couple Alka-Seltzers before the game because you know it was going to give you indigestion the whole game.” — Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve
The Lynx have two more games in August before beginning their September stretch run, one coming on the road in New York on Tuesday at 6 p.m. and another on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. against Seattle at Target Center. In between the two, the Lynx will hold their annual Catwalk for a Cure fashion show at the Mall of America from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29.
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