San Antonio – The Lynx lost their third game in a row, a season high, falling 92-76 on Friday night to San Antonio, a team they have dominated in recent seasons.
The Lynx (24-9) had beaten the Stars eight games in a row, including four times this season, and 17 times of the past 19 meetings.
But San Antonio had more to play for this night. An announced crowd of 12,659, the largest of the season at the AT&T Center, turned out to watch the Stars clinch the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with the victory and cheer guard Becky Hammon.
The 16-year veteran, a native of Rapid City, S.D., played her final regular-season game before retiring. She had 10 assists and seven points.
“It felt good to be out there standing … after we won tonight, I can tell you that,” Hammon said. “It would not have been as enjoyable had we not won. So that was the first thing, getting in the playoffs was a great feeling.”
The Stars are a game behind Los Angeles, which is third in the West and beat Seattle 77-65 on Friday, with one game left for each team. If they tie, San Antonio will be the third seed and play the Lynx in the first round of the playoffs.
Forward Maya Moore led the Lynx with 20 points, 17 in the first half.
But the Lynx played without second-leading scorer Seimone Augustus (16.6 ppg), who has a swollen left knee. She did not make the trip. Augustus missed eight games in a row and nine games total earlier this season because of bursitis in that same knee. Her current issue is unrelated to the bursitis. She is unlikely to play in Saturday’s regular-season finale against Tulsa at Target Center.
Monica Wright, who started for Augustus, struggled. She scored only six points, committed five fouls and had three turnovers. Tan White, a reserve, scored 15 points for the Lynx while starter Lindsay Whalen had 13.
Jia Perkins led San Antonio with 23 points. Danielle Adams had 19.
The Lynx shot 70.6 percent in the opening quarter — tying a season high for one period — to take a 28-24 lead. Moore was 5-for-6 from the floor for 13 points.
But San Antonio opened the second quarter on a 7-1 run to reclaim the lead at 31-29 on a three-point play by Sophia Young-Malcolm.
At halftime, San Antonio led 50-47. The lead grew to 74-64 after three quarters.
After a torrid start, the Lynx finished poorly for the third consecutive game, shooting just 18.2 percent in the fourth quarter.
Hammon, who will join the San Antonio Spurs as the first full-time female assistant coach in the NBA, received a standing ovation and a long embrace from Stars coach Dan Hughes upon exiting the game with 1:20 left.
Star Tribune staff writer Kent Youngblood contributed to this report.