Postgame Notes: July 11, 2004

Lynx 83, Monarchs 73 (OT)
Target Center

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Minnesota picked up its fourth win in five outings with tonight's OT victory, reaching .500 (9-9) for the first time since June 19 and climbing to within 1.5 games of second-place Seattle (10-7) in the Western Conference playoff race. The Lynx improve to 8-3 at Target Center, marking the most home wins in the WNBA for 2004 (Los Angeles and Indiana have seven apiece). They'll complete their three-game homestand Wednesday vs. Connecticut, before kicking off a four-game road trip Thursday in New York.

Sacramento slips to 1-3 on its current five-game road swing, which concludes Monday night at Detroit. The Monarchs are 3-6 overall away from ARCO Arena, but return home to play six of their final seven heading into the Olympic break; they've won three straight at ARCO after a 1-4 start. Sacramento falls into sixth place in the West at 7-10, percentage points behind both Phoenix (8-11) and Houston (8-11).

The Lynx are 2-1 against Sacramento this season, and have won four of the last five meetings overall to draw even in the all-time series at 10-10. The lone blemish in that five-game span was a 60-50 Monarchs victory on June 17 at Target Center. Minnesota posted a 69-61 triumph at ARCO Arena on May 22, which remains its only road win in 2004; they'll visit Sacramento in the regular-season finale (Sept. 19).

The win was Minnesota's second in overtime this year, having posted a 58-50 home win over Houston on June 30, while the Monarchs fall to 0-1 in OT contests. The Lynx outscored Sacramento 12-2 in the extra session, equaling the second-biggest overtime winning margin in WNBA history (Miami downed Charlotte 74-63 on June 3, 2000). Minnesota outscored Houston 8-0 in OT earlier this year, the second shutout ever in the league. The Lynx' all-time OT record improves to 6-7, while Sacramento slips to 5-8.

Minnesota tied a season high by draining 10 three-pointers, with Katie Smith's six treys matching a WNBA single-game best for 2004. The Lynx have bumped their three-point accuracy to 41.4% (29-for-70) in four July outings, after shooting just 30.3% from long distance through June. The Monarchs, coming off a season-high 9-for-12 performance in Friday's win at Connecticut, finished 1-for-8 from three-point range tonight. In three meetings with Minnesota this year, Sacramento has gone 4-for-31.

The Lynx compiled a 30-4 advantage in bench scoring in Friday's comeback victory over Phoenix, and followed up with a 28-22 edge vs. Sacramento. Vanessa Hayden tallied nine points and a game- and season-high seven rebounds before leaving the game with a mild concussion, while Stacey Lovelace-Tolbert chipped in eight points, and Amber Jacobs and Amanda Lassiter dealt four assists each.

Minnesota enjoyed a 35-24 rebounding edge, its biggest margin of the season and third double-digit advantage. Sacramento entered the contest ranked third in the WNBA in rebounding margin (+2.1 rpg), and had outboarded Minnesota 32-24 in their previous visit to Target Center. The Monarchs continued their season-long inside dominance by outscoring the Lynx 42-22 in the paint; Sacramento hasn't been outscored in that category yet this year. Minnesota improves to 8-1 with the rebounding advantage.

Katie Smith poured in a season-high 34 points (20 in the first half), the second-highest single-game total in the WNBA this year; Tina Thompson tallied 35 at New York on May 23. It's the 11th 30-point night of Smith's Lynx career; only Cynthia Cooper (16) has scored 30+ more often in WNBA history. The 34 points also matches Smith's own Target Center single-game scoring record, while her 12 field goals fell one shy of her own club mark; she needs just five FGs to become the seventh player in league history to reach the 1,000 plateau.

Tangela Smith led the Monarchs with her second consecutive 19-point effort, while Yolanda Griffith finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four steals. Griffith is averaging 17.3 ppg (on 62.5% shooting) over her past three games. She also ranks second in the WNBA in steals at 2.24 spg, having swiped five at Minnesota on June 17.
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