Lynx Return With 98-69 Win Over Mystics
Web Editorial Associate
They didn’t miss a beat as they topped the Washington Mystics 98-69 in front of a sellout Target Center crowd. Leading the way was Seimone Augustus with 20 points, while Maya Moore and Monica Wright each added 17.
The Mystics kept it close for much of the first quarter, but the Lynx ended it on a 6-0 run, putting them up 26-15. By halftime, they’d extended their lead to 50-34 on 51.2 percent shooting and Augustus’ 15 first-half points. The Lynx never lost the lead after the first two and a half minutes, and finished the game shooting 51.3 percent, while holding the Mystics to 37.3 percent.
Reeve attributed the Lynx's ability to pull away to their rebounding. Minnesota ended up with a 35-32 rebounding advantage, including a 23-17 difference in defensive boards.
"They only scored on put-backs," Reeve said. "I thought we were defending their actions. We got a little bit of full-court and tried to create some turnovers. I thought they were comfortable early, so we had to adjust a little bit and plug some holes. And then we had to start rebounding balls. I think they had two points for a long while, and I think that was attributed to tough defense and then obviously getting boards."
More than anything, the Lynx felt good to be back on the court together and said they couldn't have asked for better cohesion after such a long break.
"It was great. It was like, we were right back in it," Augustus said. "We were groovin', got the chemistry together. It took a minute, you know. We kind of had to get adjusted in the first quarter. But, as you can see, in the second, third, fourth quarters, it was like, transition, the defense was on, and it led to a lot of easy baskets."
"The last two days of practice [before tonight], you're ready to go and you're excited," Lindsay Whalen said. "But you're kind of anxious just to see how we're going to be after the break, and I think we responded well. I think we played hard and everyone came in and gave their minutes hard. I just thought it was a good night for us and we made a lot of things happen."
Leader of the Pack: Seimone Augustus
Fresh off her Gold Medal experience, Seimone Augustus left no doubt in the minds of Lynx fans that her focus is back on defending the team’s WNBA title. Stacking up 20 points, four assists, three rebounds and a steal, Augustus was unstoppable. She shot 9-of-11, including two 3-pointers, and her 15 first-half points helped the Lynx to a lead they'd never relinquish.
"It was great to get back," Augustus said. "There was so much energy in the building. [The fans] were so excited, and we were excited to see them. And the warm reception that we got with the Olympic medals ... Just to be back on the court and hear the cheers and the chants was awesome."
With just over 8:30 remaining in the third quarter, Rebekkah Brunson deflected a Washington pass just over the half court line. The stray ball was recovered by Whalen, and she pushed it up to Moore, who completed a suave one-handed catch and finished at the rim on the contested layup. This gave Whalen her seventh assist of the night and put the Lynx up 57-36.
The Numbers Game
The Lynx collected a season-high 32 points off 19 Washington turnovers. ... The Lynx recorded another season-high 29 assists. Mystics center Michelle Snow was issued two technical fouls and was ejected from the game with 4:58 remaining. ... Lindsay Whalen's nine assists tonight brings her closer to Katie Smith's franchise assists record; Whalen needs only three more assists to clinch the record.
"I don't think we got out of it. We're the Minnesota Lynx. Cheryl Reeve knows how to keep her team on their toes and primed and ready. And we've been doing everything we're supposed to do in the break to be who we are. -- Taj McWilliams-Franklin on getting back into WNBA-mode after the break
The Lynx play one more at home on Sunday at 6 p.m. against Western Conference-worst Tulsa Shock before heading out to Seattle to take on the Storm on Tuesday at 9 p.m.
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