Web Editorial Associate
The Minnesota Lynx kicked off the second half of the regular season on a high note.
Minnesota edged past the New York Liberty 76-75 on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center to improve to a WNBA-leading 17-2 overall on the season.
“The first half, we felt pretty good about what we had going on. Offensively, we were playing to our identity. We threw the ball inside early and often and (Sylvia Fowles) did what Syl does, which is make layups, get fouled, make free throws. The second half, we got away from that,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said after the game. “Maya (Moore) got hot during a stretch, but then we needed to kind of get back to it. We were fortunate to win the game. That’s a trademark of this team is finding a way to win.”
The game came down to the final seconds in front of another sizable Lynx crowd of 10,123 on Tuesday.
With the game tied 74-74 late, Lindsay Whalen hit a double-clutch jumper on the baseline to put Minnesota up 76-74 with 47.7 seconds remaining.
“I ended up making kind of a tough shot. I kind of wanted to turn the corner a little bit more and Kiah Stokes did a really nice job of cutting it off. I went back to look to see if there was anything in the middle and there wasn’t, they played it pretty well,” Whalen recalled. “I was kind of able to get into her body a little bit and got the finish. It’s always good when shots like that go in and it ended up being the game-winner, so we’ll take it.”
After Epiphanny Prince made one of two free throws, New York had a chance to win the game with five seconds remaining and down one, but Sugar Rodgers missed a three and Minnesota came away with the win.
“(Whalen’s shot) was just like we drew it up,” Reeve joked. “We got a little bit crossed up because we wanted to take the ball out on the other side of the floor. It was designed where Whay was supposed to drive baseline, so I guess she got cut off and she made lemonade.”
Whalen finished the game with 12 points and two assists for the Lynx. Moore led the way with 27 points and five rebounds, Fowles had 18 points and nine rebounds, Plenette Pierson had seven points and five rebounds off the bench and Seimone Augustus added six points, three assists and three rebounds.
The Liberty were led by Tina Charles with 24 points and 16 rebounds. Prince had 19 points and five rebounds, Rebecca Allen had eight points and four rebounds and Shavonte Zellous and Bria Hartley each added seven points.
“I don’t think we played our best defense tonight, but we stepped up to the challenge,” Fowles said. “I’m happy with the win. We are going to go back and scope this thing out and see some areas where we can clear up and get ready for Atlanta.”
With the win, Minnesota extends its winning streak to four straight games. New York falls to 10-10 on the year with the loss.
And although the game was closer than she would have liked, a win is a win for Reeve.
“By one or by 21, Bill Laimbeer always told me, win the game,” she said.
Highlight Of The Game
With her three blocks in the first half of Tuesday’s game, Fowles recorded her 500th block of her career. No. 500 came right before the buzzer in the second quarter.
Fowles becomes the seventh player in WNBA history to record 500 career blocks.
“It’s a good accomplishment,” Fowles said. “You have to give credit to my teammates, they swarm those little ones into the paint towards me, so thank you to our guards.”
The Numbers Game
- The Lynx finished shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from three. The Liberty shot 42.9 percent from the field and 25 percent from behind the arc.
- Minnesota held a 34-26 advantage over New York in points in the paint.
- The game was tied a total of 10 times, with six lead changes. The Lynx largest lead in the game was 10, while the Liberty’s largest lead was two.
Player Of The Game
Tuesday night’s Lynx Player of the Game goes to Maya Moore.
Along with her game-high 27 points, 10 of which were scored in the third quarter, Moore finished 11-for-20 from the field and went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc in the game.
“Maya had a good first half and in the third quarter she had a nice stretch there, getting out in transition and shooting threes. I thought Maya was good where Maya is usually good,” Reeve said. “Defensively, she had a couple of nice defensive plays in front of our bench. . . It was a typical Maya game.”
The Lynx hit the road for a one-game road trip when they take on the Atlanta Dream at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta. The game will be aired on Fox Sports North and 106.1 BOB FM.