Tuesday evening, the WNBA All-Stars were announced, a 22-player roster that included Lynx players Maya Moore, Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus.
And it felt at least a little strange.
The game will be in Minneapolis on July 28. And the Lynx have a trio participating. But the announcement seemed a little odd, with the team struggling, on a two-game losing streak and with players — including the All-Stars — struggling a bit, too.
But Wednesday? A celebration.
In an 89-65 drubbing of last-place Indiana, Fowles was fantastic, Moore looked a lot like, well, Moore, and Augustus was nearly perfect in a midday matinee at Target Center in front of an announced 17,933 fans — most of them screaming camp day kids among the largest regular-season crowd in franchise history.
And while recent events suggest nobody should assume the Lynx (13-10) have completely righted the ship, there were some very good signs in a game that, not long after it started, was never really in question.
Those fans got a show.
Fowles made 13 of 15 shots for a season-high 30 points, had 16 rebounds and blocked three shots. Augustus went 5-for-7 for 13 points with four assists. Moore had 10 points to go with three rebounds and three assists.
“It was her best game,” Reeve said of Fowles. “When she plays like that, it’s hard to beat us.”
The coaches have been pushing Fowles to be more assertive. With her skill set, add determination and she’s hard to stop.
“We call it ducking in,” Reeve said. “She wasn’t ducking in as frequently as we needed her to.”
Joked Fowles: “If you ask Coach, she thinks I’m supposed to duck in about five times in one possession. I don’t know if that’s possible. But we’re working towards that.”
Fowles had 10 points in the first quarter, which ended with the Lynx up six, then she scored six points in an 8-0 run to start the second that put the Lynx in control. The Fever (2-20) was led by Candice Dupree’s 20 points.
Augustus? Of the three All-Stars, she was the one most touched to learn the fans had helped push her into her eighth such game. A career-long Lynx, she has seen the ups and downs of the franchise. To play one at home? Priceless.
“Minnesota was the place we wanted to have it,” she said. “I’m thankful to be a part of it.”
She celebrated by hitting her first five shots of the game, including three three-pointers.
“Sometimes you need a little boost,” she said.
Moore? Stuck in a shooting slump, Moore was the top vote-getter and was in line to be a captain. But, given the responsibilities that go with being on the team playing host to the game, Moore felt it best to concentrate on that.
Wednesday, Moore shot 4-for-10, moving well without the ball.
“As difficult as it’s been for Maya, where putting the ball in the basket has defined your career, to have some of the struggles? Today’s game showed you what it’s about,” Reeve said. “She did other things, she didn’t hang her head. She’s getting good shots, she’s shooting it the right way. Sometimes you don’t ask why, you go on to the next play. I was happy with Maya’s play today.”
It wasn’t just the big three. The bench scored 34 points. Erlana Larkins, playing on a seven-day contract, had a career-high eight assists.
The three Lynx All-Stars were a combined 22-for-32 for 53 points, 21 rebounds and seven assists. And that was something to celebrate.
Both the victory, and the upcoming All-Star Game. Of course, there is a chance the three might not end up on the same team; the two squads will be announced Thursday. What if Fowles is facing a teammate?
“I’ll probably trash talk ’em,” Fowles said. “Especially Seimone. Probably not Maya, she’s a little more conservative. But Seimone? She definitely will be trash talking.”