Web Editorial Associate
The Minnesota Lynx played a tough Atlanta team on Friday night and ended up accomplishing something that most definitely wasn’t in the scouting report.
Without Olympian Seimone Augustus, the WNBA defending Champions decided to go out and casually beat the Dream, 110-78, recording their largest road win in franchise history.
“You play Minnesota and you see what’s going on out there and you see us back here. What we saw tonight was the true makings of a championship team,” Atlanta’s head coach Michael Cooper said. “The way Minnesota plays, I thought we did a good job. In the first half we were hanging with them, but we were up plus 7 on the boards and they came back and rectified that. As Pat Riley use to say, ‘no rebounds, no rings’.”
Leading by one point at halftime, the Lynx turned the ‘defensive-dial’ all the way up in the second half, only allowing the Dream to score 33 points in the final 20 minutes of play.
“I feel like we had a slow start in the third quarter,” Atlanta’s forward Reshanda Gray said. “With these types of games, you just have to learn from them.”
Minnesota as a whole played an extremely efficient game, shooting 55.1 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from beyond-the-arc and 92.9 percent from the charity stripe.
The Lynx starters were energetic and all over the floor throughout the game, combining for 77 points, 25 rebounds, 12 assists, six steals and two blocks.
“Obviously it was a much better second half for us in terms of getting done what we were trying to get done which was not putting them at the foul line,” Reeve said. “You would never know that we talked about that before the game the way we performed in the first half defensively. Once we cleaned that up we were able to get some stops and get out in transition and that what we do and we had some success there.”
Minnesota also did a great job defensively on Atlanta’s prolific scorer Angel McCoughtry.
“She’s just a great player, you can’t guard her with one player,” Lynx’ head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “That’s one thing, you always try to make her touches more difficult, you have to guard her with the team. You have to make sure that your help defense is solid and I thought we got that done in the second half.”
The Lynx caused the 6’1 veteran forward to go 6-for-21 from the field and turn the ball over four times. Despite swarming McCoughtry every time she touched the ball, she still ended up scoring 22 points in the game.
110: This triple-digit number is the most points Minnesota has ever scored in a road game, and the second-highest total in any non-overtime game.
18: Jia Perkins, who made her first start on Friday night in place of Augustus, scored this many points, a season-high, all in the second half. On top of the impressive night of shooting, the veteran guard also had a game-high five assists for the Lynx.
26: Minnesota has won this many straight games when holding their opponent below 40 percent shooting from the floor. The Lynx are a mind-blowing 75-1 in that category since the 2011 season (insert shocked emoji face here).
21: Minnesota got in their cardio workout on Friday night as they scored this many fast break points due in part to causing 18 turnovers. The Lynx were relatively safe with the basketball, only allowing Atlanta to tally six transition points.
“We had over 20 points on transition buckets. Many of them occurred early in the third quarter when we pushed the ball more. That is when we started to stick more to our game plan.”
The Lynx are already in Washington and are waiting eagerly to take on the 4-6 Mystics on Saturday night. The game will tip-off at 6:00 p.m. and will be available on WNBA’s League Pass or as always, on 106.1 BOB FM radio.