The combination of playing with just nine healthy players and on the second night of a back-to-back proved to be a non factor and that had to do with pretty much one player early on. Maya Moore.
Moore, who is known to keep her body in fantastic shape throughout the season, didnt seem to be worn out after arriving back in the Twin Cities at 11 a.m. this morning after beating the Tulsa Shock on the road last night. Moore gave the team all the energy it needed as she scored the first 12 of the teams 16 points, all coming from the 3-point line.
Right now, I dont know if theres a bad shot, said Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve. Mayas breaking plays and right now, (shots are) going in at a high rate. We just let her go. We let her do it.
The Lynx led the Liberty 24-14 at the end of the first. Moore had 14 of those, shooting 5-of-8 from the field and 4-of-5 from the 3-point line. Rookie center Damiris Dantas had a game-high six rebounds as well. Cappie Pondexter led New York with six points.
To end the first quarter, Moore and Seimone Augustus collided while fighting for an offensive rebound. That led to the duo being held out for the first six minutes of the second quarter.
Maya probably got the worst of it, the whole eye thing, Augustus said after the game. Ill be okay. Got some Tylenol.
Luckily Lindsay Whalen picked her teammates up, scoring six points in the first four minutes of the quarter. New York would go on to score six straight to bring the Liberty within four with 3:33 left in the half. Led by Tina Charles 16 points and eight rebounds, New York was able to get the lead down to 39-36 at halftime.
At the break, Moore and Charles had 16 points each. Whalen added 15, while Pondexter had 11.
After a Charles fadeaway, the Liberty took a lead of 42-41 with 8:10 left in third and after a 3-pointer from Essence Carson, Reeve called a timeout Two minutes later you could hear the coach yell, offensive rebounds! At that point, the Lynx had just two to New Yorks eight.
They didnt listen to me, Reeve said. One player (Charles) got seven rebounds What we know is that we cant sustain at a high level not doing those. We need to defend and we need to rebound.
Lynx vs. Liberty
The Lynx were able to hang onto the lead at the end of the quarter, leading 62-57 thanks to seven points in the quarter from rookie forward Asia Taylor.
Happy for the rookie, Reeve said. And I told her after the game, great minutes Really happy for Asia during that stretch. It was obviously her best minutes, a career-high for a Lynx player.
After some scrappy play in the fourth and some clutch shooting from Augustus and Moore, the Lynx were able to come away with the 87-82 win.
Moore led the Lynx with 30 points, shooting 11-of-19 from the field. Whalen added 21, while Augustus had 18. Taylor had a career-high 10 points off the bench.
Minnesota now moves to 4-0 on the season, while New York sits at 1-2.
Leader of the Pack: Maya Moore
Another historic night for Moore. She had a game-high 11 field goals, went 5-of-8 from the 3-point line and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the free-throw line. Her first and fourth quarter surges led the Lynx.
Maya, you know, and I told her. She credits her teammates and obviously shes just shooting it really well, Reeve said.
That might be an understatement, coach.
Highlight of the Game
Moores start to the game was something else. She had nine points in the first 2 minutes and 43 seconds, all-coming from the 3-point line. If there was anyone in the building questioning Moores energy that was quickly answered. Moore finished the game with five out of the games 11 made 3-pointers.
The Numbers Game
Minnesota has beaten the Liberty six straight times (dating to a78-62) home loss on Sept. 2, 2011).
Moore set has set a WNBA record with four straight 30+ point games.
The Lynx had just six offensive rebounds compared to the Libertys 12.
Janel McCarville and Dantas shot a combined 1-of-9 from the field. Dantas did have a team-high eight rebounds, though.