Lynx win to stay in thick of playoff race

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 16, 2010 - 12:41 AM

Lindsay Whalen led Minnesota with 21 points and 12 assists. The team's final three road games will clarify the playoff picture.

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Lynx players gave franchise owner Glen Taylor an autographed team photo Sunday before the last regular- season game was played at Target Center.

Taylor was smiling after the brief mid-court ceremony as he walked to his sideline seat. A better gift came later.

The Lynx held off San Antonio 84-78 despite guard Becky Hammon's 30 points. The victory kept the Lynx in the thick of the playoff chase in the Western Conference.

Minnesota, San Antonio and Los Angeles are all tied for third place at 12-19 in the win-starved West. Two of those teams will advance.

If they finish deadlocked, the Lynx would be the team on the outside looking in because the first tie-breaker in that scenario is a team's record against the other two teams.

But the Lynx, who finish with three road games in the next seven days, can at least still dream of qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

"We got the toughest road of any of the teams we are battling with," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "But OK, this team doesn't mind playing on the road. I like our chances."

Minnesota plays Seattle on Tuesday and Los Angeles on Friday -- the Lynx are 0-3 against the Sparks -- and finish against Indiana next Sunday.

San Antonio ends the regular season with three home games. Los Angeles, meanwhile, has two of its final three games at home.

Minnesota broke a two-game losing streak Sunday with better perimeter play overall before an announced crowd of 8,678.

"We just had terrific, terrific guard play tonight between [Lindsay] Whalen, Seimone [Augustus] and Monica Wright. They just carried us," Reeve said. "And we survived a great game by Becky Hammon. We defended her pretty well. She was feeling it."

Whalen, who signed a multi-year contract extension Wednesday, scored 21 points and tied a season-high 12 assists.

Wright scored 20 points, including a big off-balance 11-foot jumper with one minute left. Augustus added 17 points, 11 in the first half when the Lynx took a 38-29 lead.

Hammon shot 6-for-14 on three-pointers and her 30 points was a season high. Free throws by Hammon got the Silver Stars within four points twice in the last minute at 80-76 and 82-78.

Each time San Antonio got close, Whalen countered with two free throws at 25 seconds and again at 10 seconds.

"We knew we had to hold onto the lead," she said. "They never got the lead in the second half. So we did our jobs."


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