The Lynx had just rolled into the WNBA All-Star break with a 93-82 victory Wednesday over the Tulsa Shock at Target Center. The team was clicking on defense, and the fast break was rolling again.
And the feeling in the locker room was clear: The best is about to come.
The Lynx have won four in a row and six of seven. Once again, Maya Moore (32 points, nine rebounds, five assists) and Lindsay Whalen (18 points, five assists) led the way. Once again, the Lynx defense was stout, the grit apparent. The balance in the lineup — all five starters and six players total scored in double figures — was there. It was enough to keep a franchise regular-season record crowd of 16,413 — made up of mostly youngsters participating in the annual Camp Day — deafening all afternoon.
And reinforcements are coming.
“I guess you could say the band is getting back together,” center Janel McCarville said.
The Lynx are 17-6 — the same record they had after 23 games last season — and have yet to be 100 percent healthy. But that’s due to change. Seimone Augustus missed her seventh consecutive game and eighth overall with bursitis. Rebekkah Brunson has been out all season following right knee surgery. But both are slated to return after the break. And that should give the Lynx, who have emerged from a midseason bout of mediocrity, a nice kick-start into the final 11 games.
“We’re 17-6, given what we’ve been through?” Reeve said. “It’s a huge testament to how hard Maya and Lindsay have played. … The trajectory is upwards. I’m hoping the final 11 games we will show ourselves playing our best basketball.”
Moore scored 12 of her 32 points in the fourth quarter. Whalen both scored and distributed. Damiris Dantas had her third career double-double. Monica Wright had 10 points and five steals. Devereaux Peters had 10 points and three blocks.
The Lynx had a 52-38 edge in the paint and a 23-4 edge on the break. All of which was more than enough to hold off the Shock (7-15), which had five players score 10 or more, led by Skylar Diggins (19), Glory Johnson and Odyssey Sims (16 each).
For Moore, it was her ninth 30-point game of the season, one away from the WNBA single-season record of 10. Three of those have come in victories over Tulsa.
“She’s the Michael Jordan of this league,” Shock coach Fred Williams said.
So the Lynx have settled back into a groove. After a 7-0 start the Lynx went 4-5, a stretch that included difficult road losses at Seattle and New York. But since? The Lynx are 6-1.
“We’ve grown [since those losses] Moore said. “Those were games for us to reflect and learn from. Since that New York game we’ve been diligent about our tenacity on defense, on our connectivity, our communication. We’re on the same page.”
And now the band is getting back together. As Reeve said, the Lynx have stayed the course. And now, the final push.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” Whalen said. “It will be great. We’ve been together here for four or five years. It will be great to have everybody back.”
Augustus is out for All-Star Game
Augustus, who was named as a reserve to the Western Conference All Star team on Tuesday, will not play. Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird will replace her. Bird is an All-Star for the eighth time.