Recap 2005

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May (1-2) – The Minnesota Lynx kicked off their 2005 WNBA season on the road against Houston. In the season opener (May 22) Minnesota lost a 79-65 decision, dropping the Lynx' all-time record in season openers to 4-3. Second-year center Nicole Ohlde tallied 18 points and eight rebounds. In their home opener (May 25), Minnesota evened its record at 1-1 after defeating Los Angeles, 68-65, as Katie Smith topped the Lynx with 24 points on 5-for-8 three-point shooting, including back-to-back 3’s in the game’s final minutes. The Lynx closed out the month with a 67-66 loss to Sacramento (May 29). Nicole Ohlde’s last-second lay-up was waved off after officials initially counted the basket. The decision was reversed after officials viewed a replay and concluded the shot came after the buzzer.

June (7-5, 8-7) – The Lynx opened the month of June with a 71-74 road loss to Washington. Smith’s 20 points (8-for-14 FG) led a franchise record-tying five Minnesota players in double figures, with Stacey Lovelace chipping in 13 off the bench. The Lynx recorded their second win of the season in a 73-67 win over Charlotte (June 4). Vanessa Hayden scored eight of her 10 points in the second half and added a franchise-record six blocks. Svetlana Abrosimova scored 10 of her 15 points in the second half for Minnesota, which shot 54 percent from the floor. The Lynx traveled to Houston and picked up their first road win of the season with a 62-58 victory (June 7) behind efforts by Ohlde and Smith, who combined for 20 of the Lynx’ 37 second-half points. The Lynx stretched their winning streak to three games as they routed Washington 78-60 (June 11). The win avenged the previous week’s loss to the Mystics in D.C. Smith paced the way for the Lynx, scoring 27 points, 15 off three-pointers. The team shot 58-percent from the floor, making 10-of-17 three-point attempts. The consecutive wins boosted the Lynx' record above .500 (4-3) for the first time in 2005. The Lynx traveled to the West Coast for a three-game road trip against Western Conference rivals Seattle, Sacramento and Los Angeles. They started the trip by surviving an 86-81 overtime win in Seattle (June 15). The teams traded leads for much of the game before Minnesota was able to pull away in OT. Smith had 21 points, seven in overtime, while Ohlde finished with 15 points and 10 boards. The Lynx win-streak was snapped June 17 as they fell to Sacramento, 50-67. Abrosimova led Lynx scorers with 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds. The Lynx were handed a 69-56 defeat by the Los Angeles Sparks to close out their road trip (June 18). Ohlde was the only player in double figures, scoring 10 points for Minnesota. The Lynx rebounded with a convincing 75-59 victory against Phoenix (June 22) at Target Center, in which they never trailed. The win was Minnesota’s sixth in a row, and pushed the Lynx back over .500 (6-5). Ohlde scored 14 points and Hayden added 12 points as Minnesota beat the Mercury 40-16 in the paint. The Lynx followed the win with a 55-57 loss to Indiana (June 24). Smith missed a three-pointer at the buzzer as Minnesota fell at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Lynx followed up the Indiana setback with a 73-70 victory against Seattle at Target Center (June 26). Smith contributed 22 points, 12 coming in the final 6:20 to seal the victory. Minnesota’s defense held all-star Lauren Jackson to eight points on 1-for-11 shooting. Hayden led the way with a season-high 17 points as Minnesota overcame an early 11-point deficit to down San Antonio 63-53 (June 28). The Lynx rounded out the month with a 56-71 loss to Connecticut at Mohegan Sun Arena (June 30). Smith topped Minnesota with 11 points and Tamika Williams nabbed four steals.

July (3-6, 11-13) – The Lynx began July with a disappointing loss to the struggling Charlotte Sting, 58-66, in Charlotte (July 7). Minnesota committed 20 turnovers in the contest, leading to 13 Charlotte fast-break points. Hayden led the Lynx with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocked shots. Minnesota rebounded after the All-Star break (July 8-10) with a 61-51 win against the Detroit Shock at Target Center (July 13), in which Smith became the first women’s professional basketball player to reach 5,000 points in a career. She posted 11 in the game. Not to be overshadowed by Smith’s milestone, Abrosimova finished with 22 points on a WNBA record-tying 8-for-8 shooting performance, leading the Lynx to their sixth consecutive home victory, the second-longest streak in franchise history. Minnesota continued their solid play with a 64-60 win at Madison Square Garden against the New York Liberty (July 15). The Lynx had four starters in double figures and Hayden led the way with 14 points, nine rebounds, and five blocked shots, including a basket on an assist from Katie Smith with 12.8 seconds to play that gave the Lynx a four-point lead and the win. Minnesota ended their home winning streak, when the Connecticut Sun came to town with a one of the league’s best records and beat the Lynx 72-53 (July 17). Amanda Lassiter came off the bench to score 11 points for Minnesota in the loss. Minnesota continued their notable play in the paint against Connecticut, outscoring the Sun 38-22 down low. Following the Connecticut defeat, the Lynx dropped the last game of their three-game homestand to New York, 47-59 (July 24). Minnesota forced New York to commit 16 turnovers and held them to 42-percent shooting but shot only 35-percent from the floor on the offensive end. Ohlde led all scorers with 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting. The Lynx suffered another defeat when they headed to San Antonio, losing 71-78 to the Silver Stars (July 26). Hayden led all scorers with 17 points and picked up three blocked shots in the losing effort; the Lynx shot only 1-for-13 from beyond the arc. The Lynx returned home to square-off against Phoenix (July 29). The Mercury dealt the Lynx a loss 69-65 at Target Center. Mercury guard Diana Taurasi hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 65 as Phoenix crawled back from a 16-point deficit to move a game closer to Western Conference playoff contention. Abrosimova added 20 points for the Lynx and Amber Jacobs 10. The Lynx closed out July with a loss to the first-place Sacramento Monarchs, 54-67, at ARCO Arena (July 31). Ohlde was the only player in double figures with 10 points; Minnesota shot just 36 percent from the field.

August (3-7, 14-20) –The Lynx started out the month with a loss to the Phoenix Mercury, 64-70, at America West Arena (August 3), Minnesota’s fifth consecutive loss. Maria Stepanova had 12 of her season-high 18 points in the second half as the Lynx squandered a nine-point halftime lead. Abrosimova led Minnesota with 19 points and five rebounds. The Lynx returned home and gained a crucial 76-72 victory against fellow Western Conference playoff contender Los Angeles (August 7). Minnesota led by as many as 25 with 15:49 left in the second half, until L.A. outscored them 41-22 in the ensuing 14 minutes. Ohlde hit two free throws with 11 seconds remaining to preserve a four-point lead and put the game just out of reach; she finished with 13 points. Kristi Harrower added a season-high 15 points. With the win, the Lynx climbed within a half-game of Phoenix and L.A. for the fourth and final playoff spot. Minnesota gained their second consecutive victory as they beat San Antonio, 76-72, at Target Center (August 9). Despite 17-point performances from both Marie Ferdinand and Bernadette Ngoyisa, the Lynx forced 18 turnovers and outrebounded the Silver Stars 31-24 to take the win. Lovelace shot a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor for a career-high 17 points and combined with Williams for a 10-0 run in the second half, as the Minnesota bench scored 29 of the team’s 43 second-half points. Minnesota could not extend its two-game winning streak when they faced Detroit and were defeated 66-72 in overtime at the Palace of Auburn Hills (August 11). Detroit’s Deanna Nolan stole an Abrosimova pass with 1:26 remaining and subsequently scored the go-ahead basket. Abrosimova scored 18 points and Lovelace 15 as the Lynx fell a game behind Phoenix for a playoff spot. Minnesota followed up the Detroit game with a crucial 66-72 loss to Seattle at Target Center (August 12). Lynx guard Chandi Jones posted a career-high 16 points as Minnesota shot under 37-percent from the field in the game. Seattle’s all-star point guard, Sue Bird, scored 20 points and dished out six assists, leading the Storm to the win. Lynx guard Chandi Jones toped her previous career-high the following game, putting up 17 points, as Minnesota came back from the Seattle loss to defeat the Houston Comets 73-62 at Target Center (August 16). Ohlde added 16 points and six boards, helping the Lynx to outrebound Houston 30-23 in the match-up. With the victory, Minnesota remained one game behind Phoenix for the fourth playoff spot in the West. Minnesota had a tough schedule on their final road-trip of the season, with games against three Western Conference rivals in Seattle, Phoenix and Los Angeles. They started with a 60-76 road loss to the Seattle Storm at KeyArena (August 18). The Lynx had an opportunity to move into playoff position with a win, but could not capitalize on a Phoenix loss. Ohlde led Minnesota with 17 points; Williams had a career-high 14 rebounds. The Lynx were unable to pick up a crucial road win as they traveled to Phoenix (August 21). Diana Taurasi had 17 points, five rebounds and two blocks en route to an 83-69 victory over Minnesota, knocking the Lynx out of playoff contention. Abrosimova hit her first four shots during an 11-3 spurt that got the Lynx within 10, but the Mercury answered with a run of their own, putting the game out of reach for the Lynx. Abrosimova finished with 14 points. Minnesota wrapped up their final road trip of the season with a 63-74 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks at Staples Center (August 23). The Lynx trailed by as many as 18-points in the game, until cutting the deficit to five with less than six minutes remaining, but clutch free throw shooting in the final two minutes gave Los Angeles the edge. Chamique Holdsclaw had 20 points and Tamika Whitmore 17 for the Sparks, while Ohlde and Abrosimova led the Lynx with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Minnesota finished out the regular season with a 52-61 home loss to Sacramento (August 27). Despite shooting only 21-percent from the floor in the first half and a nine point deficit at halftime, the Lynx battled back to tie the score at 42 on Stacey Lovelace’s lay-up with 7:24 left to play. Sacramento’s Yolanda Griffith, however, kept the Monarchs on top, scoring eight of her 17 points in the final four minutes. Sacramento’s trademark tough defensive forced 20 Lynx turnovers. Nicole Ohlde was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the finale and scored a team-high 18 points for the Lynx.

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