Lynx 73, Silver Stars 64
SBC Center (San Antonio)
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Katie Smith leads the league in three-pointers ( 75).
Bill Baptist, WNBAE/Getty Images
Minnesota kicked off its final road trip of the regular season with Saturday's nine-point victory, completing a sweep of its four-game season set with San Antonio. The Lynx have taken series from three Western Conference opponents this year (3-1 vs. Seattle, 3-1 vs. Sacramento), and could add a fourth by defeating Phoenix (2-1) on Wednesday night at America West Arena. The 4-0 effort against San Antonio marks only the second sweep of a Western foe in franchise history; Minnesota went 3-0 against Seattle in 2001.
The Lynx move to 17-14 on the season, clinching their first-ever .500+ campaign with three games remaining. The win reduces Minnesota's "magic number" for securing its first WNBA Playoff appearance to three. They're tied with Sacramento (17-14 after Saturday's OT win at Phoenix) for fourth in the Western Conference, and are just percentage points in back of third-place Seattle (16-13), pending the outcome of the Storm's game vs. Detroit on Sunday night at KeyArena.
Saturday's win was Minnesota's second in a row away from Target Center, following a 77-73 triumph at Sacramento one week earlier (Aug. 9). The longest road winning streak in club history is three games, set June 8-17, 2000, with victories at Orlando, Miami and Phoenix. Minnesota improves to 6-9 on the road this year, one win shy of the franchise single-season record; the Lynx went 7-9 in both 1999 and 2000, and 6-10 in 2001.
The loss ended San Antonio's two-game winning streak (Aug. 9 vs. Los Angeles, Aug. 12 at Seattle), dropping the Silver Stars to 11-20 overall. The franchise single-season record for losses is 22, set in 1998 while based in Utah; the Starzz were 7-21 in the WNBA's inaugural 1997 campaign. San Antonio slips to 5-4 under interim head coach Shell Dailey, who took over from Candi Harvey following the Silver Stars' 81-54 loss to Minnesota on July 25 at Target Center.
Minnesota racked up a 39-25 rebounding advantage over the Silver Stars, equaling their biggest margin of the season (40-26 vs. San Antonio, July 16). Forward Svetlana Abrosimova
notched her first point/rebound double-double this year (and the 10th of her career) with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Lynx have been outboarded only once in their last 12 games (Thursday vs. Los Angeles), and rank second in the WNBA in rebounding margin at +3.1 rpg.
Guard Katie Smith
finished with a team-high 17 points, drilling a pair of three-pointers to bring her 2003 total to a WNBA-leading 75. Smith has posted the league's top two single-season marks in that category, hitting 88 in 2000 and following up with 85 the next year. Forward Tamika Williams
added 13 points on Saturday, going 6-for-8 from the floor. She continues to lead the WNBA in field-goal accuracy at 67.0%.
The Lynx bench outscored their San Antonio counterparts by a 24-5 spread, with Michele Van Gorp
(nine points), Kristi Harrower
(eight) and Sheri Sam
(seven) contributing. It's the third consecutive game Minnesota has received 20+ points from its non-starters, having compiled a 25-9 advantage Thursday vs. Los Angeles. The bench is providing 23.0 ppg over the last three (led by Sam's 13.3 ppg), helping Minnesota's overall scoring climb to 77.7 ppg in that span.
San Antonio forward Adrienne Goodson led all scorers with 20 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds. It's her second 20+ scoring effort of the year (22 at Detroit, July 1). Meanwhile, center Margo Dydek tallied 14 points and blocked three shots, boosting her WNBA-record career total to 598 blocks. Dydek has led the league in that category in each of the last five seasons; she ranks second this year (2.94 bpg), narrowly trailing L.A.'s Lisa Leslie (2.95 bpg).