Postgame Notes: Aug. 1, 2004

Lynx 59, Shock 58
The Palace at Auburn Hills

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Minnesota won for the fourth time in its last five road outings with tonight's one-point decision, improving to 5-7 away from Target Center for 2004. The 4-1 spurt began when the Lynx snapped their five-game road drought by defeating New York, 69-66, on July 15; they've also notched wins at Phoenix (July 18) and Connecticut (July 22) during the run. Minnesota's single-season record for road victories is seven (1999, 2000 and 2003); they'll play five of eight September contests away from Target Center.

At 15-11, the Lynx take the WNBA's third-best record into the Olympic break. They trail West-leading Los Angeles (19-7) by four games and are 2.5 games behind Seattle (17-8), but hold 2.5-game leads on both Phoenix (12-13) and Sacramento (12-13). Minnesota set a franchise record by winning 18 games a year ago en route to its first-ever playoff appearance.

Minnesota completed a sweep of its two-game season set with Detroit, having beaten the Shock, 78-70, on July 3 at Target Center. The Lynx open up a 6-3 lead in the all-time series, winning for the second time in four all-time trips to The Palace of Auburn Hills. They also beat Detroit twice during the 2004 preseason (74-65 on May 11 at Target Center, 58-56 on May 15 in Pittsburgh). Each of the last six regular-season meetings between Minnesota and Detroit have been decided by single-digit margins.

The Shock fall to 6-8 at home and 13-14 overall, losing 10 of their last 16 outings after a 7-4 start. Despite the slide, Detroit remains tied for second in the Eastern Conference playoff race, one game in back of front-running New York (13-12) at the Olympic break. The 2003 WNBA Champions went 13-4 at The Palace en route to a 25-9 finish a year ago. Four of their final seven games will be on the road.

Tonight's win was Minnesota's fifth straight in games decided by three points or fewer, a run that began with the 61-59 comeback victory over Phoenix on July 9. The Lynx are 5-2 overall in that category; only Los Angeles (7-0) has won more one-possession games this season. Meanwhile, Detroit falls to 1-4 when the margin is three or less, after compiling a 6-2 mark in 2003. Minnesota is now 11-4 in games decided by single-digit margins, and 7-2 when leading at halftime.

Detroit entered tonight's game ranked third in the WNBA in scoring offense (70.2 ppg), coming off a season-high 88-point eruption in Friday's home win over New York. The 58-point effort tonight was just the third time they've been held below 60; the Shock dip to 2-10 in games they've tallied fewer than 70 points. Detroit has shot under 40% in five of its last six games (a combined 38.4%), including tonight's 37.3% performance. They've hit just 10 three-pointers (in 39 attempts) over those six contests, as well.

The Lynx are 10-3 in their last 13 starts, and have now held six of those 13 opponents below 60 points (averaging 61.3 ppg). They've also kept eight of the 13 under 40% from the field (a combined 38.5%). Minnesota ranks third in the WNBA in scoring defense (63.7 ppg) and fourth in FG percentage defense (40.1%); they finished 9th (69.7 ppg) and 11th (42.5%), respectively, in those categories a year ago.

Minnesota went scoreless over the game's final 3:10, finishing with 59 points. The Lynx have come up short of 70 in eight consecutive outings, and have managed to tally 70+ just twice in their last 19 games (five times overall). However, Minnesota bounced back from Friday's season-low 29.3% shooting effort vs. Seattle to hit 43.4% from the floor tonight; the Lynx improve to 11-2 when topping 40%.

The Lynx overcame a season-high-tying 25 turnovers tonight, their seventh outing with 20+ miscues. Minnesota also committed 25 TOs vs. Sacramento on June 17; the franchise single-game record is 27 (vs. Phoenix, June 27, 2003). The Lynx are averaging 20.5 TOs in their last four contests (including 21 at Washington on July 23), after shaving their miscues to 14.9 per game in the previous eight.

Svetlana Abrosimova paced the Lynx with a season-high 12 points. Starting the last three games in place of the injured Katie Smith, Abrosimova is averaging 10.0 points (on 42.3% shooting, including 5-for-11 from three-point range), 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists, with Minnesota going 2-1. Tamika Williams added 11 points and nine rebounds, while Helen Darling chipped in 10 points and eight assists.

Detroit's Swin Cash led all scorers with 16 points, while Cheryl Ford hauled down a game-high 13 rebounds (her 11th double-digit board effort this year) to help the Shock grab a 32-30 edge on the glass. Ford ranks second in the league in rebounding at 9.4 ppg. Ruth Riley finished with eight points, bringing her career total to 1,000; she's the 76th player in WNBA history to reach the 1,000-point mark.

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