Postgame Notes: July 3, 2004

Lynx 78, Shock 70
Target Center

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Minnesota picked up its second straight win with tonight's comeback victory, finishing 2-1 on its three-game homestand and improving to 6-3 on the year at Target Center. At 7-8 overall, the Lynx climb to within a half-game of third place in the Western Conference playoff race (Phoenix 8-8). Minnesota improves to 5-3 all-time vs. the Shock, including 4-1 at home. They'll travel to Indiana on Thursday before kicking off another three-game homestand Friday against the Mercury.

The loss was Detroit's fourth in a row, dropping the defending WNBA champions below .500 at 7-8 and into fourth place in the Eastern Conference; they lost only nine games a year ago (25-9). Prior to their current slide (which began with a 71-67 OT setback at Connecticut on June 25), the Shock had won six of seven. Despite the loss, Detroit maintains the WNBA's best road record in 2004 at 6-3. They'll return to The Palace (where they've gone just 1-5) on Tuesday to open a three-game homestand vs. Houston.

For the second consecutive game, Minnesota rallied from a double-figure deficit to win. On Wednesday, the Lynx spotted Houston a 29-18 lead late in the first half before coming back to win 58-50 in overtime. Detroit built a 58-48 cushion with less than 15 minutes remaining tonight, but Minnesota outscored the Shock 30-12 after that point to grab the eight-point victory. It's the Lynx' third double-digit comeback this year (making up a 14-point spread June 5 vs. Phoenix) and the 12th in franchise history.

Tonight's contest was Minnesota's first against an Eastern Conference opponent since dropping a 68-64 decision to New York on May 30. The Lynx improve to 2-1 vs. the East; including tonight's game, they play six of nine against Eastern foes to open July. Tonight's contest was the first of five straight against Western teams for Detroit; they're 2-2 vs. Western opponents, and will host Minnesota on Aug. 1.

The Lynx rang up 47 points in the second half, their second-highest-scoring half of the year (49 at Seattle, May 20, second half). They finished with 78 for the night, which doubles as their second-most-prolific night (85 at Seattle) and the second-highest total allowed by Detroit this season (79 at Indiana, June 9). Entering tonight's contest, Minnesota had averaged 57.0 ppg (on 36.5% shooting) in its seven previous outings. The Lynx shot 45.0%, improving to 6-1 this year when hitting 40% or better.

Minnesota compiled a 29-27 rebounding advantage, outscoring Detroit 32-20 in the paint and 20-10 in second-chance points. The Shock have been outboarded in all four games during their current losing streak, facing an average deficit of -5.3 rpg. They're outrebounding the opposition by +1.2 rpg on the season, after leading the WNBA in that category in 2003 (+4.9 rpg); Minnesota ranked second at +2.6 rpg. The Lynx are now 7-1 when holding the board edge (0-7 when being outrebounded).

Katie Smith led all scorers with 27 points, highlighted by her 400th career three-pointer with 15:22 left in the game. Smith, the WNBA's all-time leader in three-pointers made and attempted, finished 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, rookie Vanessa Hayden ignited the Lynx rally by scoring 10 of her season-high 12 points in the second half, adding a season-high three blocks in 19 minutes.

Helen Darling added 11 points and a career-high nine assists, equaling the second-highest single-game total in franchise history. As a team, the Lynx handed out a season-high 21 assists, including five by Nicole Ohlde, who also chipped in 10 points to finish the homestand averaging 14.7 ppg in three games. Darling and Ohlde shared team-high rebounding honors tonight with five apiece.

Detroit forward Cheryl Ford tallied 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, her sixth point/rebound double-double on the year; she's tied for second in the WNBA in that category with Chamique Holdsclaw, behind only Lisa Leslie (seven). Merlakia Jones came off the bench to lead the Shock with a season-high 16 points, while Swin Cash and Deanna Nolan netted 13 points apiece.

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