The Minnesota Lynx displayed another virtually flawless form to register an 85-76 win over the Tulsa Shock Saturday night at BOK Center, completing a 4-game week that flourished with victories.
Lindsay Whalen earned her first double-double of the season, with season highs in points (25) and assists (11). Rebekkah Brunson picked up her seventh double-double of the year with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
“We got going early,” Whalen said. “We were making shots. Once we got those things going, things were good for us.”
Minnesota (11-3) put up a frenetic pace in the first half. Maya Moore started a 17-2 first quarter run to break an early 7-7 tie, and the Lynx drained 67 percent of their field goals by halftime. Although their accuracy dropped in the second half, Minnesota’s stifling defense prevented Tulsa (3-13) from a serious upset bid.
“We’re in a good spot right now,” said Brunson, who hit six of her first seven shots. “I’m not trying to go out of my way. I’m just going within the flow of the offense.”
Moore finished with 22 points for Minnesota, hitting eight of 14 shots to reverse a lackluster trend in marksmanship at road games.
Similar to fellow opponents, the Shock attempted to expand the Lynx interior defense beyond the arc. Initial efforts kept Tulsa from falling behind, making six of their first 10 three-pointers. The Shock could not sustain such pressure, hitting only twice in their final 18 three-point attempts.
Tulsa could not employ the services of Glory Johnson, who was sidelined with a neck injury that occurred in Thursday’s loss to Los Angeles.
“Without Glory in there, we were really struggling to get any inside points (or) offensive rebounds,” said Shock head coach Gary Kloppenburg.
Riquna Williams led Tulsa with 22 points off the bench. Nicole Powell followed with 16 points, but the most crippling figure was the scoreless line of Skylar Diggins. The rookie from Notre Dame fired just two shots and had to leave the game in the fourth quarter due to an ankle injury.
“Communication is key. I feel like we weren’t talking. We worked so hard in practice. When game time comes, we just throw it all out the window,” Williams said.
Minnesota extended its winning streak to four games, while Tulsa’s losing streak reached six games.
Praise has enveloped the Lynx this week for continuing to rattle wins while Seimone Augustus focuses on healing her ankle injury. Monica Wright was a centerpiece, but Janel McCarville’s conditioning has improved, increasing her cohesion with an anchored core.
“(McCarville) played great. She was all over the place and getting loose balls and hustle plays,” Whalen said. “Everybody is stepping up and doing a little more.”
Minnesota will get several days off before their road trip continues next Friday, when they face San Antonio.