Postgame Notes: May 30, 2004

Liberty 68, Lynx 64
Target Center

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New York took over sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with tonight's victory, improving to 3-1 on the season (a half-game in front of Charlotte). That matches the second-best start after four games for the Liberty; they opened the inaugural WNBA 1997 campaign with seven straight wins. New York continues its four-game road trip with a stop in Charlotte on Tuesday.

Minnesota slips to 2-3 and sixth place in the Western Conference, 1.5 games behind front-running San Antonio (3-1). The Lynx are a game off their 2003 pace, when they finished with a franchise-record 18 victories. Minnesota is 1-1 at home, having beaten Washington 73-62 in Friday's opener. They'll host the Silver Stars on Thursday, before wrapping up the four-game homestand next Saturday against Phoenix.

The victory was New York's fourth straight at Target Center, dating to a 60-58 Lynx triumph on July 17, 1999. The Liberty lead the all-time series by a 5-3 count, having won last year's only meeting (70-60 on June 6 in the Twin Cities). Six of the eight games have been decided by six points or fewer. Minnesota will visit Madison Square Garden on July 15; they're 2-1 all-time in New York.

The Lynx were held to 34.8% shooting, their second sub-40% night in five starts this year. They hit just 32.1% in Wednesday's 56-44 loss at San Antonio; Minnesota is 0-2 when coming up short of 40% from the floor (3-6 a year ago). The Lynx attempted 28 three-pointers on Sunday, one shy of the club single-game record (vs. Los Angeles, May 29, 2003). Minnesota leads the WNBA in three-point attempts this year, averaging 20.4 per contest; however, they're just 11th in three-point accuracy (30.4%).

New York enjoyed a 34-30 rebounding advantage, the third time in four games they've outboarded the opposition. Rookie DeTrina White grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, her second double-figure effort this year. She moves up to second in the WNBA in rebounding (9.5 rpg); teammate Elena Baranova drops to fourth at 9.3 rpg after hauling in a season-low three boards tonight.

Liberty guard Becky Hammon notched career highs in both rebounds (eight) and assists (eight) tonight, but was held to a season-low nine points. In Hammon's previous Target Center appearance (last June 6), she poured in a career-high and franchise-record 33 points in New York's 70-60 victory over the Lynx.

Rookie forward Shameka Christon, the fifth pick overall in the 2004 WNBA Draft, tallied a season-high 11 points. Lynx center Nicole Ohlde, taken one spot behind Christon in April, was limited to four points but blocked four shots (one shy of Janell Burse's single-game mark). Ohlde continues to rank second among rookies in both scoring (10.8 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg); Christon is fourth in scoring at 6.3 ppg.

Lynx guard Katie Smith again led all scorers with 20 points, her third 20-point effort in five contests. She went 4-for-8 from three-point range, on the heels of a 4-for-6 outing Friday vs. Washington. Smith also made all four of her FT attempts, improving to 23-for-23 on the season. She needs 14 more FTs to move past Cynthia Cooper into second place on the WNBA's career list. Smith, the league's fourth-leading scorer all-time, now needs 39 points to reach the 3,000 mark.
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