Playing for the second straight game without starters Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson, Maya Moore once again put the Lynx offense on her back and led the team to victory.
Minnesota defeated Las Vegas 89-73 behind 34 points from Moore. Her efficiency was yet again impressive as her 34 came on 12-19 shooting including a season high 5-7 from three and 5-6 from the free throw line. Just for good measure, Moore also threw in five assists, four rebounds and two steals. *Goat Emoji*
Even facing a young and hungry Aces team on the brink of playoff elimination, Minnesota controlled this game for the majority of the night. The Las Vegas defense didn’t make enough adjustments to stop Minnesota’s offensive execution. The Lynx just seemed to be getting easy attempts and open shots whenever they wanted.
Lynx point guard Danielle Robinson went down with a nasty looking ankle injury halfway through the second quarter. Robinson was starting for Whalen who missed this game due to rest. The severity of the injury and time table for recovery are unknown as of now, but Robinson did not return to the Lynx bench following the sprain. Unfortunately with so little time remaining in the regular season, any amount of missed time will have implications for their playoff run.
A silver lining in the Robinson injury was Tanisha Wright stepping up and playing her best game of the season as emergency point guard. Cheryl Reeve has gone with Wright at lead guard in small stretches throughout the year to mixed results. Wright was fantastic Thursday night in a season high 34 minutes of play. Aside from her typical sterling defense, she was a steadying influence on the offensive end. Wright was crisp in her decision making which resulted in six assists. She also had 16 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Robinson will likely be out of the lineup for at least a few games, Minnesota will count on a similar version of Wright to close out the season.
With Moore’s electric shooting night and the unexpected point guard minutes from Wright, it might be easy to overlook what the Lynx did on the defensive end. Minnesota held Las Vegas to 37.5% shooting from the field. The Aces only made 24 shots in the game. The defensive scheme was on point and carried out masterfully. Rookie of The Year shoe-in A’ja Wilson was never given a chance to get anything going. Lynx players fronted and bumped her before she could gain possession of the ball. She looked frustrated and out of sorts. Wilson still finished with a team-high 18 points, but she went 4-16 from the field and mainly scored on free throws. Minnesota’s guards were on a string rotating around the permitter and generally forcing the Aces into inefficient long jumpers.
After losing three straight, the Lynx see-saw back upwards with a two game winning streak. Moore looks like she has regained her super powers, but the team might be looking at a big setback if Robinson misses any amount of time. The final four games should be fascinating.
Fowles was a beast on the glass and had 19 rebounds in this game. One shy of her season high.
The youth of the Aces was very apparent. They had no answer for what Minnesota was doing to their offense and kinda just let it happen all game long.
With the win (212) Reeve moves into first place for most wins with a single WNBA franchise.
The first place Seattle Storm come to Target Center on Sunday night. Get tickets to the game and see the Lynx battle Breanna Stewart and the Storm. Tip off is at 6pm. You can watch the game on Fox Sports North or listen on BOB 106 FM.