Moore, Lynx Snap Skid With 88-57 Win
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Things are finally back to normal for the Minnesota Lynx after they defeated the New York Liberty 88-57 on Sunday evening.
Going into the game, Minnesota had lost three straight games and some doubted if they had what it took to win the West. As they were led by small forward Maya Moore’s play early, Minnesota did its best to remind fans that the Lynx are still the defending Western Conference Champions.
Things weren’t exactly ‘normal’, though, as the Lynx were without Sixth Woman of the Year Candidate Monica Wright who was out with a thigh contusion she suffered in Friday’s loss to Tulsa.
The Liberty weren’t at full-strength either as All-Star guard Cappie Pondexter was out with a left heel bruise.
Moore started out with a game-high 13 points in the first quarter, including three 3-pointers to give the Lynx a commanding 29-16 lead after one to set the tone.
New York shot just 31.6 percent from the field, while Minnesota shot 63.2 percent at the end of one.
Moore and center Janel McCarville were a combined 8-of-10 from the field.
The absence of Wright showed in the second quarter. Minnesota’s second unit allowed New York to narrow the lead to 33-29, but when the starters came back in with 2:55 left in the half, it was all business.
Alex Montgomery led New York with eight points. Minnesota led at half, despite being outrebounded 24-14.
The second half was led by Minnesota’s bench play, most notably by Rachel Jarry, who scored 11 points in the third quarter to put the Lynx up 65-45 going into the fourth.
That was all the cushion Minnesota needed, as it closed out a victory.
Moore led all scorers with a season-high 28 points, while shooting 6-of-10 from the 3-point line. She added five rebounds and three blocks as well. McCarville and Augustus both finished with 12 points. Augustus added six assists and five rebounds, while McCarville had three blocks. Jarry scored 11 points off the bench.
Minnesota shot 57.9 percent from the 3-point line and 47.2 percent from the field.
Alexis Montgomery finished with 11 points and six rebounds off the bench for New York.
Guard Katie Smith, who played with the Lynx from 1999-2004, had 11 points. Smith announced that she will retire after this season, making Sunday’s game her last at the Target Center. The Lynx had a pretty awesome video tribute honoring Smith before the game. If you look in the record books, Smith’s name is pasted all over it.
The Lynx also honored former center Taj McWilliams-Franklin who played with the team from 2011-2012 and was a big part of the 2011 championship team.
Minnesota (18-6) sits one game ahead of the Los Angeles Sparks (18-7) for first place in the West.
New York (10-14) falls 1.5 games back from Indiana for the No. 4 seed in the East.
Leader of the Pack: Maya Moore
It seems when Moore gets hot, the team gets hot. That was the case on Sunday night. Moore set the tone, scoring 13 points in the first quarter and she didn’t look back, finishing with 28 points while shooting 11-of17 from the field.
"I think Maya's always ready to turn things up regardless of the situation... Maya is a winner and she wants to do this every game. She wants to be great every game," said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve.
Highlight of the Game
Rookie forward Rachel Jarry, who hadn’t played since June 21 against Los Angeles, was put in the game during the third quarter. Good things happened.
Jarry made three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points in the quarter giving the Lynx a 65-45 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The crowd showed its appreciation in a big way, giving the Australian a standing ovation.
She finished with a career-high 11 points to go along with three rebounds and two assists.
"I just love our crowd," Jarry said. "They get so into it. For me, it's crazy coming over here. Everyone knows about basketball where as in Australia, we are not a basketball nation... Being over here and the whole crowd is into it and the girls on the bench are into it, that's a lot of fun."
The Numbers Game
The Lynx had eight blocked shots tonight. New York had just one.
"Coaches definitely let us know that we were going to have opportunities to have shots and told us to step up and shoot them. It's always fun at home. We're comfortable here, I'm def familiar with the 3-opin line areas, my teammates did a great job of finding me open and they went in." - Lynx small forward Maya Moore on making six 3-pointers.
The Lynx will hit the road and travel to the Atlanta Dream (13-9) on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CST on FOX Sports North Plus, WNBA LiveAccess, NBA TV and will air on 106.1 BOB FM.
The Dream are two games back from first place in the East and the Lynx defeated them in the Target Center 94-72 back on July 9. At that time, Atlanta was the best team in the East.
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