Web Editorial Associate
The Minnesota Lynx finished off the 2017 regular season the same way they started it: with a win.
Minnesota took down the Washington Mystics 86-72 on Sunday afternoon at Xcel Energy Center in the regular season finale.
With the win, the Lynx also clinched the best record in the WNBA this season and will receive the No. 1 overall seed in this month’s WNBA Playoffs.
“I told our team, I really want to make sure that a lot of people recognize this group in terms of what they do on a daily basis and a yearly basis,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said postgame. “The amount of work, the way they do it. I know it was Fan Appreciation Night, but I told them it was coach appreciation night and I wanted to make sure we took a second and acknowledged how they get themselves, how they carry themselves, how they represent this organization, the way they compete tirelessly. Earning first place, it’s one of those things where they have two days to soak it up and recognize all that they’ve done.
“It shouldn’t get lost on anyone how hard this is to do. After that, they are not allowed to think about those things because how you finish in the regular season is not what matters. Where we finish in the postseason is what matters.”
In Sunday’s game, Minnesota trailed early on, falling behind 7-0 in the first two minutes of the game. But the Lynx ended up going on a 24-9 run to finish out the first quarter.
From that point on, they didn’t look back, leading the rest of the way to get the win.
Maya Moore led the way for the Lynx with 26 points, Renee Montgomery had 18 points and three assists, Plenette Pierson had 11 points and five rebounds and Rebekkah Brunson had 10 points and seven rebounds. Seimone Augustus had eight points and five rebounds, Natasha Howard had six points and three rebounds and Sylvia Fowles had five points, eight rebounds and five assists.
“It feels great. We had to win three of three to secure the first spot, so it’s good that we set a goal and we did it,” Montgomery said. “It’s fun when you win and you win well. Sometimes you win and they feel like losses, so we had some good wins to end the season.”
Kristi Toliver had 20 points and three assists and Elena Delle Donne added 12 points to lead the Mystics. Asia Taylor had 10 points and three rebounds, Ivory Latta had nine points, Emma Meesseeman had seven points and four rebounds and Tianna Hawkins finished with six points and seven rebounds.
With the win, Minnesota improves to 27-7 on the season heading into postseason play.
With the loss, Washington drops to 18-16 overall and will receive the fifth seed in the playoffs.
“We definitely savor it, because knew how important every single game was this season. We had to claw and scratch and fight for everything,” Moore said. “We had to win those last three games to maintain homecourt advantage and we did that while playing well. The postseason, we’re ready for it. I think if had ended the season winning but not playing as well, it would have set us up poorly. I’m just happy we were able to be in the position to play well going into the postseason.”
Highlight Of The Game
With 7:10 left in the second quarter, Montgomery hit a three and was fouled, completing the rare four-point play to move her into double-figures in scoring in the first half. That basket gave Minnesota a 31-22 lead over Washington.
Montgomery finished scoring 18 points in the first half and helped the Lynx to a 51-44 lead into halftime.
The Numbers Game
- The Lynx finished shooting 46.1 percent from the field in the game, while the Mystics shot 39.7 percent.
- Minnesota held a 48-16 advantage in points in the paint.
- The Lynx largest lead of the night was 15 points. The Mystics’ largest lead was seven points.
Player Of The Game
Sunday afternoon’s Lynx Player of the Game goes to Maya Moore.
Moore finished the game with a team-leading 26 points, while shooting 10-of-19 from the field and going 3-for-6 from three.
“I feel good. I think the last couple of weeks, I felt more and more like myself to perform physically and mentally the way that my team needs,” Moore said. “Really happy to be playing well and to be playing with that poise and that energy that my teammates are used to having with me. Everybody is just building off of each other and playing off of each other and it just feels really good.”
Minnesota will kick off postseason play on September 12 at Williams Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The game, against an opponent that has yet to be determined, will start at 7 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN2, 106.1 BOB FM and TuneIn Radio.