After playing from behind for much of the second half, the Lynx truly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat Friday night in New York. Minnesota finished on a 12-2 run in the final 1:39 to win the game 78-72. Seimone Augustus carried her team down the stretch in classic “Money Mone” fashion as she drained shot after shot from the midrange. She led the team with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting.
After a first half that saw the Lynx pickup 12 paint points as well as 13 free throw attempts, Minnesota’s inside-out offense ran in to trouble in the second half. New York made adjustments to crowd the lane and better deny post entry passes to Sylvia Fowles. Other than Augustus, Lynx shooters couldn’t punish Liberty defenders for sagging into the paint and helping against the threat of Fowles.
Floor spacing and balance are going to be paramount for Minnesota’s offense. Fowles was the reason the team finished first in offensive rating in 2017. Other teams are going to put more thought and effort into slowing her down this season. Before making a three pointer with 20 second left to put the team up for good, Maya Moore had a rough second half. Her teammate Lindsay Whalen also had trouble contributing on offense, as Cheryl Reeve opted to finish the game with backup PG Danielle Robinson. It might be a bumpy few weeks as the coaching staff tinkers with lineups and strategies that work best with this group of players.
Speaking of Robinson, she had her best all-around game of the young season. Her defense and energy has been on display all week, but Robinson was finally able to get into the paint and finish at the rim Friday night. With 13 points, five assists, five rebounds and two steals, she showed the type of game the Lynx are hoping to get out of her on a regular basis. Robinson could start on a handful of teams in the WNBA, her elite speed and guile should be an advantage against opposing bench lineups most nights.
Light it up, D-Rob!— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) May 26, 2018
8 PTS and 3 STL at the half for the PG! pic.twitter.com/xmP0pJMDU7
When you’re the champs, you get everybody’s best shot. The Liberty are a deep team that looks positioned for another top 5 defensive season. They played a great game and had the extra energy provided by a home opener-night crowd. For much of the second half, it certainly didn’t feel like Minnesota was going to win this game.
But that doesn’t matter. What matters is who has the most points at the end of the game. The Lynx found a way to make sure it was them.
Tonight marked the first WNBA game at the New York Liberty’s new home: Westchester County Center. It resembles a mid-major college gym and features a theater stage at one end. Tonight’s game was sold out at 2,315. Sadly for New York and their dubious ownership situation, the franchise has bigger issues than their strange venue.
Lynetta Kizer was a regrettable 1-8 from the field. Her shot selection has been circumspect.
Minnesota’s defense has been solid thus far. Reeve broke out her most devastating defensive lineup (Robinson, Wright, Moore, Brunson, Fowles) for the final two possessions with the game on the line. That lineup needs a nickname for sure.
Sunday afternoon Minnesota travels to D.C. to take on the Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics. The game tips at 2pm CT. You can watch the game on WNBA League Pass or listen at BOB 106 FM.