Rockers 79, Lynx 71
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Sheri Sam scored a season-high 17 points in the loss.
Cleveland handed the Lynx their second straight loss with tonight's eight-point decision. Minnesota had put together a season-high three-game winning streak before falling 71-69 in the closing seconds last Tuesday at Houston. The Lynx slip to 7-8 on the season, but remain in fourth place in the Western Conference; they're 1.5 games behind the Comets (9-7) and one game in front of Sacramento (7-10). The Monarchs visit Target Center on Tuesday night, the second game of Minnesota's four-game homestand.
The Rockers snapped a five-game road losing streak, winning for the first time away from Gund Arena since posting a 63-53 victory at Washington on June 6. Cleveland, which squared its record at 7-7, moves into a fifth-place tie in the Eastern Conference with Connecticut (8-8). The Rockers are in the midst of a season-high four-game road trip, with stops remaining in Los Angeles (Monday) and Phoenix (Thursday).
The win was Cleveland's third in a row over Minnesota, dating to a 60-57 overtime victory by the Lynx on June 24, 2000 at Gund Arena. The Rockers now lead the all-time series
by a 4-3 margin, and will host Minnesota on July 17 to complete the season set.
Cleveland's 79-point outing tied its second-highest effort of the year. Entering tonight's contest, the Rockers had been averaging only 59.0 ppg in their six prior road games. The point total is also the second-best by a Lynx opponent in 2003, topped only by Los Angeles' 83-point night on May 28 at Target Center. Minnesota had limited its previous four opponents to 59.5 ppg.
The Lynx finished at 50.0%, their third 50%+ effort in the past four contests (fifth overall). Minnesota is shooting a combined 50.0% over the last four; however, they're just 2-3 when hitting 50% or better from the floor. Meanwhile, Cleveland shot a season-high 50.9% tonight, the fifth time Minnesota has given up 50%+; they're 0-5 in those situations. Before tonight, the Lynx had allowed just 38.2% in their previous four starts.
Minnesota rang up 49 points in the second half, tying the third-highest scoring half in franchise history. The Lynx scored 52 in the second half at Los Angeles on July 8, 2001 and tallied 51 in the second half vs. Charlotte on Aug. 3, 2001. On the other end, the Rockers' 46-point effort after intermission is a season high, bettering the 45 they put up in the first half against Connecticut on June 14.
The Lynx committed 19 turnovers vs. Cleveland, including 12 in the first half. Over the past four games, Minnesota's turnovers have ballooned to 20.0 per night, topped by a franchise-record 27 vs. Phoenix on June 27. They rank 12th in the WNBA on the season at 15.5 per contest.
Cleveland guard Deanna Jackson tied a franchise record by scoring a career-high 30 points in tonight's contest, going 4-for-7 from three-point range and hitting all seven of her two-point attempts. Her previous career best was 19 points, set vs. Indiana on June 29. Center Chasity Melvin was the first Rockers player to reach 30 in a game, doing so against New York on June 21, 2002.
Melvin was the only other Rocker in double figures tonight, finishing with 16 points, six rebounds and a season-high four assists. She continues to lead Cleveland in both scoring (12.4) and rebounding (6.6).
Minnesota guard Katie Smith
netted 21 points, the sixth time in eight games she's been the Lynx' top scorer. Smith is averaging 21.3 ppg (on 56.1% shooting) during that eight-game stretch. In addition, forward Sheri Sam
scored a season-high 17 points vs. Cleveland. Over the last two games, she's boosted her scoring to 16.5 ppg while going 14-for-25 (56.0%) from the floor.
Lynx guard Kristi Harrower
handed out a game- and season-high seven assists tonight, the second-best single-game total of the season for Minnesota (Svetlana Abrosimova
had nine at San Antonio on May 30). Center Tamika Williams
finished with 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting. She leads the WNBA in field-goal percentage at 70.9%; the league single-season record is 62.9%, set by Portland's Alisa Burras in 2002.