Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Tulsa coach: Lynx best team Shock has played -- by far

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: June 10, 2012 - 8:10 AM

“That’s by far the best team we’ve seen," Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg said after his Shock lost to the Lynx 93-73 on Saturday at home. "I mean they’re all very skilled, their bigs rebound hard and they don’t really have any weaknesses."

Five players scored in double figures for the Lynx. Four of them were starers: Maya Moore had 26 points, two shy of a career high, Monica Wright 18, Rebekkah Brunson 15 and Taj McWilliams-Franklin and reserve Candice Wiggins 11 apiece.

Wright started in place of Seimone Augustus, who missed her second game in a tow with a strained right quadriceps.

"That second group in there could probably make the playoffs, their second five," Kloppenburg said, according to a Shock news release. "They are really, really good. Coming off last night [a 98-91 overtime loss at Chicago] I thought we really battled them, down two at the half and you could feel it. The energy level wasn’t there that second half."

Tulsa was within 44-42 at the half. The Shock bench actually outscored the Lynx reserves 34-15.

"Our game was trying to create some turnovers, disrupt and we were just a step slow," Kloppenburg said. "They got some good open looks and they can really shoot the ball.”

The Lynx had 16 turnovers, Tulsa 19.

“You’ve got to tip your hat to that [team]," said Tulsa guard Temeka Johnson, who played on Phoenix' 2009 WNBA championship team. "I just finished telling them the trophy is over there. They have something that everybody wants and they’re also trying to keep it.

"You have to respect the talent that they have and they played well without one of their top players. Minnesota is a very talented team. We need to keep chipping away to figure out a way to get our W.”

The loss made Tulsa 0-8 this season, 0-14 going back to the end of 2011. The Lynx tied a WNBA record with their ninth win in a row to start the season and have won 15 consecutive games counting last year's playoffs.

“I’m happy I was able to contribute, help my team, and step up in scoring," Moore said. "I felt like I had so many more opportunities I could have scored. I felt like I should have had 30 or 35 [points] from the shots I missed. I am never satisfied if I know I can do better.

"My teammates did a great job of finding me and we share the ball. It wasn’t just me. Everybody contributed and got involved. We had 20 or something assists off of 34 field goals and it’s a really good day when we can put up numbers like that.”

Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen had eight points and 10 assists.

The Lynx broke the game open with a 15-3 run in the third quarter. Said center Taj McWilliams-Franklin,  “We had a little more intensity. Tulsa played [Friday] night and it was an overtime game, so we were pretty sure their legs were going to be gone by the second half.

"We just buckled down and played through the whole play instead of stopping and giving up offensive rebounds and second shots.”

Tulsa is on the Lynx's schedule four more times this year. “The games are going to be a lot harder," McWilliams-Franklin said. "As the season wears on people get used to playing with each other and get used to the system.

"Everything is new [in Tulsa] again, so it is a rebuilding opportunity and you have to give players a chance to get used to the system. We definitely know how tough they are. We have watched their games and we are sure it is going to get tougher and tougher to play against them as they get more comfortable with each other.”

Kloppenburg is a first-year coach at Tulsa. He was an Indiana assistant the past four seasons.

The Lynx are off now until a two-game road trip next weekend. They play at Phoenix (2-5) on Friday, going for the WNBA record for best start, and at Seattle (1-6) on Sunday.\

* The Lynx shot 56.7 percent. This was the fifth game in a row, they have been at 50 percent or higher -- a WNBA record. They have shot at least 50 percent in eight of their nine victories.

* Jennifer Lacy had 15 points for Tulsa in the first half, none in the second.

* Going back to last season, the Lynx have won nine consecutive road games, the third longest streak in WNBA history. Los Angeles holds the record at 12 in 2000.

* The L.A. Sparks in 2001 and '03 were the only other teams to start 9-0. L.A. finished 28-4 in 2001 and won the championship and 24-10 in '03 and reached the finals.

* So who have the Shock played this season, that Kloppenburg has seen? Los Angeles, the team in second in the West behind the Lynx at 6-1. Tulsa had the Sparks beat until Kristi Toliver hit a three-pointer at the buzzer in L.A.

The other strong team that Tulsa has played is Chicago. The Sky (5-1) is tied for first in the East and Tulsa lost at their arena in overtime on Friday. The Shock's other losses were to San Antonio, Phoenix (twice), Washington and Seattle, all non-contenders currently..

 

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