Big 3rd Quarter Pushes Lynx Past Stars, 88-72
Web Editorial Assistant
Email / Twitter
The Lynx have had the Stars’ number for the past four seasons. Coming in to Friday’s game, the Lynx had won nine straight contests at home against San Antonio and were a perfect 4-0 against the team in 2013.
Not only had they beaten the Stars in those contests, but the wins were by a double-digit average. Taking this confidence and their 5-0 record into Friday’s game, the Lynx came out on top once again, beating the Stars 88-72.
Minnesota also turned the ball over four times in the first, making things more difficult for themselves on defense.
There was a happy moment for players and fans when Devereaux Peters came onto the court with three minutes left in the quarter. This was Peters’ first appearance in a game-situation since undergoing surgery on her left knee in early May, though she’d only stay on the court for less than a minute, getting into quick foul trouble—she would finish the game with three fouls.
Maya Moore led the team with seven points in the quarter, including the basket that gave the Lynx a 19-18 lead going into the second.
Though the Lynx started the quarter with the lead, the Stars (3-3) came back with a couple of big buckets to go ahead of Minnesota 24-23. That is, until Lindsay Whalen (19 points on 6-of-13 shooting) took the ball, drove down the court and put in a lay-up to get the Lynx back up by one.
There was a scary moment for the team when Damiris Dantas took an elbow to the head and was down on the court momentarily before being helped to the bench by a team trainer. The trainer coming onto the court, however, resulted in a technical foul for the Lynx. The foul was loudly protested by coach Cheryl Reeve and fans at Target Center, but it stood nontheless. Dantas would not return in the half.
The foul wouldn’t keep the Lynx down for long, as Moore continued her insane offensive production leading the team with 18 points in the first half. Those points wouldn’t be enough to keep the Lynx in the lead, though, as the Stars continued their 3-point assault, going 8-of-15 in the half.
Seimone Augustus made a jumpshot with 30 seconds left to bring the Lynx within 3 and Whalen had a tough lay-up chance with 2 seconds left, but couldn’t finish in traffic. Minnesota trailed the Stars 39-36 at half.
Dantas returned to start the third and didn’t miss a beat. She was fouled on the Lynx’s first possession and sunk both of her free-throws to bring the team back within one.
“It says a lot that she’s able to fight through it and kind of focus,” Reeve said of Dantas coming back from her blow to the head in the first half. “We really like what she’s doing down low. It gives us somebody that’s a pretty good finisher down there.”
Moore followed up on Dantas’ free throws with a 3 to put the Lynx up 41-39. Then Janel McCarville (7 points and 7 boards) scored her first points of the game, making it seven consecutive points for the Lynx and leading to a San Antonio timeout.
The Lynx opened the half on a 20-3 run and were up 56-42 midway through the third. Dantas continued to help the Lynx with a ferocious rebound and put-back on a McCarville miss.
Unlike the first half, 3-pointers weren’t falling for the Stars in the third and their defense couldn’t stop the surging Lynx. Moore added another 7 points in the quarter to bring her total up to 25 (12-of-22), and Dantas finished the quarter with 12. At the end of the third, the Lynx were leading 69-49.
“We just knew that we could play a little bit better,” Reeve said of the team’s production in the third quarter. “Once we had that first half under our belt and really understood what they were trying to do to us, I thought we cleaned some things up, and then I thought we were able to play off of our defense. We really got some flow to what we were doing and got 30 points off of 19 turnovers.”
The fourth quarter started off with a block by McCarville, firing up the Lynx on the defensive end.
Augustus kept the Lynx motivated with fade away jumpers and tough plays on defense, retaining a comfortable lead throughout the start of the fourth.
San Antonio’s 3-point shots started to fall halfway through the quarter and the team tried to put together a run. They pulled within 10 with three minutes to go in the game, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the hole the Lynx had dug for them in the third.
Minnesota closed out the fourth quarter and came away with a 88-72 win. The Lynx are now 6-0 for the season, the only remaining undefeated team in the WNBA.
Leader of the Pack: Damiris Dantas
Rookie Damiris Dantas, despite taking an elbow to the face in the second quarter, finished the game with 17 points, a career high, on 8-of-11 shooting. She also pulled down five boards, had two steals and even one block in the game, proving that any fogginess from the injury wouldn’t prevent her from having a great night. “As far as basketball terms, she knows what she’s supposed to be doing and everything,” Augustus said about Dantas’ play on Friday. “But maturity? You can tell that she’s a head above the rest.” Highlight of the Night
Devereaux Peters checked into the game for the Lynx with just under three minutes left in the first quarter. She received a standing ovation from the crowd in Target Center as she made her first appearance on the court since undergoing surgery on her left knee in early May. Though she exited the game about a minute later with two early fouls, it was a great moment for fans and teammates. “It means a lot,” Augustus said about Peters’ return. “We’re no longer the ‘Nasty Nine.’” The Numbers Game
“It says that with a big bump on her nose she’s pretty good, so we’ll have to make sure that that stays there.” — Coach Cheryl Reeve said about Damiris Dantas’ great second half performance after taking an elbow the the head in the second quarter.
The Lynx face San Antonio again right away on Sunday at 3:30 p.m., this time on the road. The game will be announced live at BOB 106.1 FM and can be seen on WNBA LiveAccess. They’ll continue a long road stretch over the following three games, with games at Seattle on Friday, Los Angeles June 8, and Atlanta on June 13.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.