Lynx 81, Silver Stars 54
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Janell Burse set career highs in points, steals and minutes. (Lynx photo)
Minnesota extended its club-record home winning streak
to five with tonight's victory, improving to 9-4 overall at Target Center. That sets a new franchise single-season mark for home wins, and clinches the Lynx' first-ever winning record at home. Previously, they were 8-8 at Target Center in both 1999 and 2000. Starting tomorrow night in Indiana, Minnesota plays eight of its final 12 regular-season contests on the road.
The final 27-point margin represents the biggest win in franchise history
, breaking the previous best of 24 set on three occasions (most recently in a 75-51 victory over Phoenix on Aug. 2, 2002). Minnesota's largest previous win this season was a 77-59 triumph over Sacramento on July 8 at Target Center. Three of the Lynx' top five winning margins of all time have now been against the Utah/San Antonio franchise.
The loss was San Antonio's sixth in a row, tying a club record set most recently during the 1999 season (July 10-21, 1999) when the franchise was based in Utah. The Silver Stars have dropped nine of their last 10 overall, with the lone victory in that stretch coming on July 5 vs. Phoenix (81-70). Indiana handed them a 34-point setback (81-47) on Wednesday night.
San Antonio slips to 1-10 on the road — losing six straight since a 60-57 victory at Sacramento on June 24 — and 6-16 overall, falling six games behind Minnesota in the race for the Western Conference's final playoff berth. The Silver Stars had posted winning records in each of their final three seasons in Utah, going 18-14 in 2000, 19-13 in 2001 and 20-12 last summer.
Minnesota improves to 12-10 on the year, having won eight of its last 12 outings since a 4-6 start. The Lynx are a game behind Seattle (13-9 with tonight's win over Phoenix) and Houston (12-8) for second place in the West. They're two games over .500 for the fourth time this season; it also matches Minnesota's best record ever after 22 games (12-10 in 1999). The 12 wins equals their victory total from 2001 (12-20); the club single-season record for wins is 15, set in both 1999 and 2000.
The Lynx are 3-0 against San Antonio this season, with one game remaining in the season series (Aug. 16 at the SBC Center). They've beaten the Silver Stars four straight times overall, dating to an 87-56 loss in Salt Lake City that represents the third-biggest defeat ever for Minnesota. The Lynx now lead the all-time series
by a 9-7 count, going 7-2 at Target Center.
Minnesota outrebounded San Antonio 35-27 tonight, the 12th time in 16 games they've held the board edge. The Lynx have compiled a +4.1 rpg margin (31.6-27.5) in that stretch; they rank third in the WNBA this season in rebounding margin (+2.5 rpg), trailing only Detroit (+4.4) and Cleveland (+2.8).
The Lynx finished the game shooting 47.1%. They've topped 50% in five of their last 11 games (hitting a combined 47.0%) and continue to lead the WNBA in field-goal percentage at 44.9%. Meanwhile, San Antonio managed just 38.3%, the eighth time in 12 games Minnesota has held its opponent under 40%. They're giving up just 40.1% in that stretch, and are now 8-1 when keeping the opposition below 40%.
Lynx center Janell Burse
poured in a career-high 21 points tonight, shattering her previous best of 13 (June 12 vs. Sacramento). Burse, making her second straight start, also established career highs for minutes (26), field goals made (nine) and attempted (17), and steals (four). In addition, she helped limit San Antonio center Margo Dydek to a season-low two points (on 1-for-7 shooting).
Minnesota guard Katie Smith
led all scorers with 23 points, including 17 in the game's opening 13 minutes. It's the eighth consecutive game she's been the Lynx' top scorer, and her eighth 20+ effort in the last nine. Smith is averaging 23.6 ppg in those nine, boosting her season average to 20.3 ppg (third in the league). She went 3-for-5 from three-point range, running her WNBA-record string of consecutive games with a made three-pointer to 29.
San Antonio guard Marie Ferdinand was the only San Antonio player to reach double figures, finishing with 19 points. She's topped the Silver Stars in scoring 15 times in 22 games this year. Rookie forward Gwen Jackson added nine points and a season-high three steals.