Fresh off winning the Western Conference Player of the Week award, Maya Moore exploded for a season high 32 points, leading the Lynx to a comfortable 91-79 win over the Seattle Storm, who had come into the game with a 10-4 record, second best in the WNBA.
The win is the Lynx’ fifth in a row, and moves them to 8-6 on the season after a surprisingly slow 3-6 start. A big part of their righting the ship is Moore, who struggled with her shot early in the season, but now appears to be rounding into form. They desperately need her to both stretch the floor and control the game from the perimeter like the MVP she has been, and tonight we saw her shot-making prowess in full effect.
She was joined by reigning MVP Sylvia Fowles, who dominated the paint to the tune of 28 and 17. Fowles, who has not been nearly as consistent this year as last, was an absolute force tonight. She is by far the best in the league in establishing deep post position. Whether it’s busting it down court and burying her defender, or sitting down on cross-screens, she gets deep seals, at which point it’s just over for the defense. It’s an amazing thing to watch her completely bury hapless opponents in the post. At one point in the second half, they were forced into going to a zone defense in an attempt to slow her down. At which point, the Lynx feasted on the offensive glass. The Storm simply had no answer for the Lynx tonight.
Defensively, the Lynx were active all night, contesting Storm shots all over the court. They allowed very little in the paint, and outside of Breanna Stewart, who was impressive on her way to 27 points, they really didn’t let anyone else get going until garbage time. They wound up shooting 43 percent from the floor, though they were under 40 percent for most of the night. Despite missing 40 shots, the Storm were only able to come up with six offensive rebounds, a reflection of how dominant the Lynx’ interior play was. Overall, the Lynx had a 42-28 advantage on the glass, which was a key factor in the game.
Several things have helped turn things around over the last five games for the Lynx. Moore playing more like what we’ve become accustomed to is a big one. Lindsay Whalen seems to have found her game a bit, though she was not particularly effective scoring it tonight, with five points on 2-6 shooting. But her play of late has been much more controlled and effective, which has led to more minutes for the point guard.
Beating Phoenix on the road and Seattle at home over the past few days is a terrific accomplishment for the Lynx, and reminds us just how good they can be when things are firing on all cylinders. It remains to be seen whether they can keep up this level for the long haul, but things are looking much better now than they were two weeks ago.
- Cecila Zandalasini continues to impress off the bench. In 17 minutes tonight, she had seven on 3-4 from thhe floor. More than just a shooter, however, Zandalasini has shown good effort on the defensive end, and a willingness to compete for rebounds.
- Whalen and Augustus (who was scorless) had only five in a combined 47 minutes, but the Lynx still put up 91 points. When Moore and Fowles are both rolling, they are very difficult to stop.
- The Lynx entered tonight 7th in the league in offensive rating; look for that number to continue to climb as long as Moore is out of her mini-slump.
- Former Lynx and current Storm Natasha Howard got her championship ring tonight. She was a key piece for the Lynx the last couple of seasons, and it was good to see her back.
- Next up is Atlanta at Target Center on Tuesday evening.