After suffering their worst loss of the season in Los Angeles against the L.A. Sparks on June 21st the Minnesota Lynx were poised to even up the score at Target Center.
The motivation and desire displayed by the Lynx was prevalent throughout the contest. There was a clear defensive focus by the Lynx to make the Sparks work for every drive, and every shot. That focus paid off as the Lynx held the Sparks to 36.9% shooting on the night.
“The type of defense we played, the approach to the game was championship basketball. They took great pride to make sure that we came out and played in a way that we all can be proud of…and I was very, very proud of how hard we played and how connected we were as a group.”
Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve
The tough defensive pressure the Lynx were applying also lead to some strong offensive play, putting up 24 first quarter points to the Sparks 15, and that consistent effort carried through from one quarter to the next.
Games between the Lynx and the Sparks are typically tough; back and forth contest that come down to the final minutes, this game was not. The Lynx were in front on the scoreboard the entire contest, and as the game progressed that margin only grew larger.
Candice Parker was the only Sparks player to shoot above 50% converting on 7-12 attempts while adding 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks. Despite Parker’s best efforts, the rest of the Sparks roster seemed to fall short of expectations and couldn’t find a defensive rhythm or the bottom of the net.
“We felt like in L.A. they punched us in the mouth first. They were the aggressors, so we definitely want to protect our home court and come out and be more aggressive.”
Minnesota Lynx guard/forward Seimone Augustus
The two largest statistical factors in the win were points in the paint, and rebounding. The Lynx outclassed the Sparks in both categories pulling down 47 rebounds and putting up an astounding 52 points in the paint, while the Sparks only managed 28 rebounds and 18 points in the paint.
The Lynx had 3 starters and 4 reserves shooting 50% or better and were connecting very well as a unit. Lindsay Whalen again controlled the tempo, and came in determined to win posting 20 points, six assists, five rebounds, three steals, and converting on 8 of 9 from the free throw line.
“She (Whalen) is playing at a very high level right now. Its all things within her game; it’s not like she is outperforming what she usually does. These are things she is really good at, which is really comforting and motivating for us, knowing that we have a point guard who is that aggressive.”
Minnesota Lynx guard Maya Moore
Bench players Monica Wright and Devereaux Peters continued their improved level of play, and helped the Lynx to secure the victory. Wright continued to thrive in her new role putting up 13 points, five rebounds, three assists, and a steal in 25 minutes of play.
Devereaux Peters had one of her best performances as a Lynx player and continues to show her potential on both the defensive and offensive side of the floor. Peters finished the game with 14 points (6-11 shooting), nine rebounds, and added three assists in her 25 minutes on the court.
“I was just playing aggressive and going out trying to get rebounds, and do whatever I could to help the team.”
Minnesota Lynx reserve Devereaux Peters