Postgame Notes: June 3, 2004

Lynx 55, Silver Stars 47
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Minnesota evened its record at 3-3 with Thursday's eight-point victory, avenging a 56-44 loss to San Antonio on May 26 at the SBC Center. The Lynx pull into a three-way tie for third place in the Western Conference, just a half-game behind front-running Seattle and Phoenix (3-2). Minnesota improves to 2-1 on its current four-game homestand, which wraps up with a visit by the Mercury on Saturday night.

San Antonio suffered its second straight loss after opening the season 3-1, coming on the heels of a 79-60 home setback to Indiana on Tuesday night. The Silver Stars return to the SBC Center on Saturday night to host East-leading New York (5-1). Despite this week's losses, San Antonio is a game ahead of last year's pace after six games; their best-ever start at this stage came in 2002 (as the Utah Starzz), when they opened 4-2.

The Silver Stars were held to 47 points Thursday, their second-lowest total ever (Utah and San Antonio combined); as the Starzz, they suffered a 78-46 loss at Phoenix on Aug. 6, 1997. San Antonio's 15 FGMs also tied a franchise single-game low (vs. New York, Aug. 3, 1999), while the 25.9% accuracy from the floor just missed setting a club record (24.2% at Indiana, July 23, 2003).

From Minnesota's side, the Silver Stars' 25.9% shooting represents the top defensive performance in franchise history; the Lynx held Washington to 26.2% on June 25, 2001 at the MCI Center. The 47 points ties the fourth-best defensive night ever for Minnesota, while San Antonio's 18.8% (6-for-32) second-half shooting effort ranks as the Lynx' best defensive percentage for one half.

The teams combined to score just 102 points on Thursday, after tallying 100 points in the first meeting in San Antonio (May 26). Those rank as two of the eight lowest-scoring games in Lynx history. Since giving up 88 points at Seattle on Opening Night (May 20), Minnesota has held five straight opponents below 70. They're giving up just 58.8 ppg (and a combined 38.4% from the floor) in that span.

The Lynx outrebounded San Antonio 39-31, including 21-9 in the first half. It's the fourth time in six games they've held the edge; the Silver Stars enjoyed a 35-29 cushion in the previous meeting. San Antonio has been outboarded three times, on the heels of a 36-17 deficit in Tuesday's loss to Indiana. The Lynx rank sixth in rebounding margin (+1.8 rpg), while the Silver Stars are 11th (-3.8 rpg).

San Antonio forced 23 Minnesota turnovers — the Lynx' third 23-TO night already this season — swiping a season-high 14 steals in the process. Entering Thursday's game, the Silver Stars had forced an average of just 12.6 TOs per contest. The Lynx have won two of the three games in which they've committed 23 miscues (also beating Washington on May 28); they're last in the WNBA, averaging 18.5 TOs per night.

Center Michele Van Gorp came off the bench to tally a season-high 13 points, helping Minnesota rack up a 20-10 advantage in bench scoring. The Lynx' non-starters had been outscored in four consecutive games, by an average of -12.3 ppg (11.8-24.0). Four of Van Gorp's top six scoring nights in her WNBA career have been vs. the Utah/San Antonio franchise, including a career-high 18 points on July 24, 2002.

Guard Katie Smith netted 10 of her game-high 15 points in the final 4:15, marking the third straight game she's been Minnesota's top scorer. The outing bumps Smith's career total to 2,976 points, leaving her 24 short of becoming the fourth player in WNBA history to reach the 3000 mark. Smith also posted season highs with seven rebounds and three blocks Thursday, while dishing out a game-high four assists.

Smith also helped limit San Antonio guard Marie Ferdinand to a season-low four points, her first single-digit outing in six games this year. Ferdinand entered the contest as the WNBA's eighth-leading scorer (17.2 ppg), including a game-high 17 points in May 26 win over Minnesota. San Antonio was led by LaToya Thomas' 12 points, her third straight double-figure effort since being activated from the Injured List.

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