Web Editorial Associate
Coming off of their first loss in the 2017 season last Saturday, the Minnesota Lynx stepped on the gas right out of the gate on Friday night and never looked back.
Minnesota, who never trailed in the game, led by as much as 18 points and ended up coming away with the 93-76 win over the Washington Mystics at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
“I was pleased. I told the team that we came out with exactly the focus that I was hoping for in our defensive effort,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said after the game. “We just lost a game here at home after scoring 93, so I was hoping we would respond the way we did and that we’d be incredibly hard to play against. We played off of our defense and then got some good offense.”
Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles led the way for the Lynx in the game. Moore finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Sylvia Fowles added a double-double of 21 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks, Lindsay Whalen had 12 points, six assists and six rebounds, Rebekkah Brunson had 11 points and four rebounds and Seimone Augustus and Natasha Howard each had nine points.
“I think that Maya, today in particular, had great identification in how she could really help us. If you watched the way she ran the floor today, it was better than at any point in the season,” Reeve said of Moore. “We talked to her about some ways to get variety in the offense. The first half, she did all of that. She set the tone for us, she posted up, she got boards, she got deflections, she did a little bit of everything.
“More than anything, it was the way that she did it, the pace that she did it, the passion that she did it with. I think she had a lot of fun with it.”
Tayler Hill led the way for the Mystics, finishing with 21 points. Elena Delle Donne had 17 points and eight rebounds, Kristi Toliver had 14 points and three rebounds and Natasha Cloud added seven points and three rebounds.
“Last game, we did enough offensively to win the game and that’s typically when our defense comes in and gets that separation for us. . .We came in with a mindset in practice on Monday that we wanted to increase our intensity a little bit more on the defensive end,” Moore said. “Tonight was fun, because we knew we’d come in with a defensive challenge. Whenever we can lock in defensively, usually our offense is right up there and we can play off of our defense like we did tonight.”
With the win, the Lynx improve to a WNBA-best 10-1 overall. With the loss, the Mystics fall to 7-5 on the season.
“On both ends of the floor, we were able to stops and then we were running. That was really good. It all starts with our defense,” Whalen said. “We were able to get stops and run it down to the other end, I think those were two of the biggest things tonight that were positives for us.”
Highlight Of The Game
With 8:15 left in the second quarter, Moore kept fighting after two missed shots and finished with a tip-in three-point play.
That basket put Moore up to 12 points and gave the Lynx a 27-19 lead early in the second quarter.
The Numbers Game
- Minnesota finished shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three. Washington shot 40.3 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from behind the arc.
- The Lynx recorded 21 team assists in the game, assisting on 21 of 33 baskets.
- Minnesota held a 44-26 advantage in points in the paint.
Player Of The Game
Friday night’s Lynx Player of the Game goes to Maya Moore.
Moore nearly recorded a triple-double in the game, finishing with 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. She shot 7-of-20 from the field and went a percent 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
Moore had a great first half, finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in the opening half alone.
The Lynx are back in action on Sunday in St. Paul when they host the San Antonio Stars at 6 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center. The game will be aired on Fox Sports North, NBA TV and 106.1 BOB FM.