Silver Stars Fall To Lynx
1 2 3 4 F SA Silver Stars (13-14) 17 19 21 18 75 Minnesota Lynx (22-6) 18 20 23 18 85
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Lynx and San Antonio Silver Stars looked at their home-and-home miniseries of two games in three nights as a possible playoff primer.
Round 1 went to the Lynx, who are running away from the rest of the Western Conference.
Seimone Augustus scored 19 points and Maya Moore added 18 points and seven rebounds to lead the Lynx to an 85-75 victory over the Silver Stars on Friday night.
The two teams meet again on Sunday in San Antonio and could meet in the first round of the playoffs. If so, the slumping Silver Stars could be in trouble. "This team's on a mission," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said.
Lindsay Whalen added 14 points and nine assists and Rebekkah Brunson had 15 points and eight boards for the Lynx (22-6), who buried the Silver Stars with a 17-1 run to start the fourth quarter.
Silver Stars rookie Danielle Adams scored 10 points in her first game back with the Silver Stars since July 26 because of a sprained right foot. Sophia Young added 10 points and six boards, but San Antonio lost its fifth straight game.
The Lynx outrebounded San Antonio 37-23 and held star Becky Hammon scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting.
"They have a lot of great players that can even come off the bench, so they're really deep," said Silver Stars guard Danielle Robinson, who had 11 points.
"They all played aggressive tonight. We just have to go home and re-evaluate and we see them again so we're just looking forward to being back at home."
The Silver Stars had been one of the only teams to slow down the frenetic Lynx pace, using hard-nosed defense to keep the first two meetings of the season close.
The Lynx needed game-winning shots in the final two seconds of the first two games -- one by Whalen and one by Taj McWilliams-Franklin -- to beat the Stars.
This game appeared to be another white-knuckler, with the Lynx clinging to a 61-57 lead after three quarters.
But Minnesota blew the doors off the place in the first five minutes of the final period to pull away.
Moore hit two 3-pointers, Augustus had a three-point play and a putback and Whalen scored on a fastbreak during the burst that gave the Lynx a 78-58 lead. The Silver Stars didn't score their first field goal of the period until the 4:57 mark, and it was far too late by then.
"There's a lot of things that triggered it," Moore said. "Offensive rebounds. Getting out in transition. Team defense. Trying to make it hard for their main scorers to get going. All of that really just fueled that buildup until the dam just burst and we were able to really just pile on some points."
McWilliams-Franklin finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Connecticut defeated Phoenix on Friday night, meaning the Lynx will clinch the top seed in the West with one more victory or a Mercury loss in the final six games.
The bright spot for the Silver Stars was the return of Adams, who missed 11 straight games. San Antonio got off to a 10-5 start with her in the lineup and went 3-8 while she was out.
The big forward delivered a teeth-rattling screen on Moore and then showed off her shooting skills by burying a 3-pointer from well behind the line to give San Antonio a 34-32 lead in the second quarter.
"I just felt that my foot was getting better and just wanted to get out there and help my team out," Adams said.
Whalen came right back with a spectacular scoop shot -- her back turned toward the basket -- and a pair of free throws to help the Lynx take a 38-36 lead at the break.
It's been a difficult year for Twin Cities sports fans, with the Vikings and Timberwolves finishing in last place and the Twins tumbling in that direction as September nears. The Lynx have finally given them something to cheer about as they've steamrolled to the best record in the WNBA.
Women's basketball is starting to grab a foothold in Minnesota. Even on a beautiful August night when the Twins hosted the division rival Detroit Tigers right across the street at Target Field, the Lynx had 9,212 fans in Target Center, which constitutes a sellout for Lynx games. It was the third-largest crowd of the season.
"If there were any first-timers, I guarantee they're coming out for a second time," Reeve said, "because that was pretty fun."