Coming into tonight's game, the Minnesota Lynx led the overall series with Seattle 29-27 and had defeated the Storm twice already this season. They extended that to three tonight, notching an easy 82-57 win. Maya Moore led the squad with 23 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Lindsay Whalen with 16 points and four assists.
After a few close games, it felt good to have such strong control at the end of this one.
"Especially with Seattle," said Seimone Augustus, who added 15 points to the evening. "They're a team who really likes to grind it out [...]. To get some separation there was great for us."
Considering the Lynx overcame an 18-point deficit to win by a three-point margin on June 25, Seattle came in hungry for a win. Although the first half proved a back-and-forth battle, Minnesota took over the game late in the third quarter, and the rest was history.
"In the first half we didn't have much flow to what we were doing offensively," said head coach Cheryl Reeve following the game. "When we play average, we're easy to play against [...]. In the second half we had a better mindset about attacking, sharing the ball [...]."
Both teams shot terribly in the first quarter, and the Lynx certainly did seem out of sync on offense. Despite an early 4-0 lead, Seattle jumped right in with a three-point basket, and from that point on the teams exchanged leads a number of times. Heading into the locker room, both squad were shooting under 35 percent.
Moore said that Reeve was none too pleased with the first half efforts, and the ladies received a few different messages at halftime. The coach mentioned the word "mindful" a couple of times when referring to the second half in the post-game presser; the entire lineup definitely played much more intentionally from that point on.
Minnesota entered the third quarter leading by one, and that period proved the turning point as the Lynx went on an 11-0 run to take a comfortable lead. Moore, who contributed four points to the run, was victim to a controversial foul call with three minutes remaining in the quarter.
Crowd not happy after Maya Moore was called for a loose ball foul on this possession. Can't blame 'em, right? pic.twitter.com/8XVNU7ubeT— Zachary Bennett (@ZacharyBD) July 4, 2015
Reeve was irate, but fortunately for Minnesota there were no ejections. Instead, the Lynx responded with a vengeance, including another couple buckets for Moore. She didn't look back, tallying nine points in the final two quarters.
"Anytime I get hit or something, it just naturally gets my juices going," Moore said. "I try to use every opportunity of adversity to fuel me to be better."
Maya Moore doing Maya Moore things. She's up to 23 points on 10 of 14 shooting. #wnbaballot— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) July 4, 2015
Both Reeve and Moore talked about the importance of extending her shooting rather than falling in love with the same jumper or three-point shot every time.
"[She succeeds] when she scores in a variety of ways," Reeve said. "I want her to shoot layups [...]. She was efficient. She didn't take many bad shots."
Fans hope the trend continues with Moore, as she seems more and more comfortable stretching the floor.
The Lynx are now No. 1 in the Western Conference, holding one less loss than Tulsa. They will enjoy another quiet week before their next game on July 10 against Chicago.
- Prior to the game, Rebekkah Brunson was highlighted in-arena for being ranked No. 5 overall in the WNBA for rebounds. Brunson entered Friday's game with 2,555 career (regular season) rebounds. She added four boards against Seattle.
- Per her tradition, Moore had fun with the fans following the win, grabbing the mic and wishing everyone a fun holiday weekend. "I guess we wanted to get the fireworks started a little early for you all," she said, winking.