Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said it best. "We shot the ball well."
The Minnesota Lynx won their fifth game in six tries tonight, blowing out the Seattle Storm 97-74 at the Target Center. This improves Minnesota's record to a WNBA-best 22-7 on the season, while the Storm fall to an even .500 at 15-15.
Before the game began, a tribute to the Storm's 16-year vet Tina Thompson was shown on the big screen. She is the only player remaining from the WNBA's inaugural season, and she announced in late May that this would be her last season.
That did not mean Minnesota was going to take it easy on them.
The first quarter was an offensive throwdown. Thompson started the game off immediately with a 3-pointer, showing fans early on that her pre-game honors were completely warranted. Moore quickly followed up Thompson's bomb with a three-pointer of her own. This was a pretty frequent occurrence throughout the quarter.
There would end up being a plethora of threes between Thompson and Moore by the end of the evening.
While Moore was putting up the majority of the points, they still got good contributions from Lindsay Whalen early on. She had 6 points and 2 assists through 1 quarter, and the Lynx got off to 31-26 lead.
The second quarter saw some ups and downs for the Lynx, and a lot of that seemed to have a near-direct correlation to whether or not Moore was on the floor. Seeing how her plus/minus for the first half was +18, it's not surprising that Coach Reeve only sat Moore for 2 minutes to start.
The first half was all Maya Moore. Of the 53 points scored by Minnesota in the first half, Moore had 25 of them. She was 10-13 from the field and 3-4 from beyond the arc at the break, and the Lynx led the Storm 53-42.
The third quarter featured the unlikeliest of stars in Rachel Jarry, who had 8 in the quarter. This included a couple three-pointers and an and-one opportunity. She finished with a season-high 14 points on the evening.
Her spark provided the Lynx with enough firepower to give them a commanding 80-58 leading going into the final quarter of play.
Moore had 30 points after three quarters. Had it not been the blowout that it was, odds are a new career high would have been marked. The first half clearly belonged to her, but her quiet second half didn't slow the Lynx down by any means.
The fourth quarter was mainly a time for some of the bench players to get some minutes. Moore, McCarville and Brunson didn't see any minutes in the fourth - Whalen and Augustus played early on but were pulled quickly.
Moore finished the evening with 30 points on 12-15 shooting and 4-5 shooting from the 3-point line. Augustus followed in scoring with 16. Minnesota's fantasy stat stuffer tonight was Monica Wright, who played a steady role on both sides all evening. She finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and a block.
"Monica led that group. Monica was really, really good," Coach Reeve said mid-praise of her team's bench play, who outscored Seattle's 31-23. "It was a great focus game for her."
Tina Thompson did not disappoint in what may be her last ever visit to the Target Center. She finished the night with 18 points on 6-13 shooting, going 5-8 from 3-point land. Tanisha Wright finished with the game's only double double, putting up 11 points and 10 assists. Temeka Johnson also played well, scoring 16 in 26 minutes.
The Storm attempted to make it a shootout with Minnesota early, but the Lynx made it clear almost immediately that such a strategy was not going to work. In the end, the Lynx shot 57.7% from the field and 60% from three.
Minnesota's next game will be this Wednesday at 7pm against the Los Angeles Sparks. It will be broadcast on Fox Sports North. The Sparks sit 1 game behind Minnesota for 1st place in the Western Conference.