The blue No. 33 jerseys sprinkled throughout Target Center spoke to Minnesota fans' eagerness to finally have Seimone Augustus back at home.
She didn't disappoint.
The All-Star forward, on the home court for the first time this season, scored 27 points, including a career-high five three-pointers, in leading the Lynx to a 78-67 victory over the Tulsa Shock on Friday night.
With the clock winding down in the fourth quarter, Augustus, a heroine all night, slowly dribbled beyond the reach of guard Scholanda Robinson. Finally, with seconds left, she drove to the left wing and released. No good. Didn't matter. By that point, the Lynx were leading by 11, a cushion for which she largely was responsible.
"I felt like I really had an extra bounce in my legs tonight," Augustus said. "I couldn't wait to get back here."
The Lynx (3-9) shot only 37.5 percent from the field in the first half, but they kept the game within reach and took their first lead with a minute remaining on a driving layup by Lindsay Whalen.
A layup by Tulsa's Amber Holt and Keisha Brown's three-pointer put the Shock (3-7) back on top, but Augustus sank two three-pointersto start the third quarter and set the tone for the rest of the game.
The Lynx gave up only 22 points in the second half.
Rebekkah Brunson helped spark the defensive charge, finishing with seven rebounds and a steal. Whalen added 10 points and 12 rebounds.
After turning over the ball an average of 22 times in the teams' past three meetings, the Lynx did so only 13 times Friday.
"For the first time this year, we weren't the best on offense [shooting 31.6 percent overall], but our defense really carried us through the game, and that hasn't been the case in the past," coach Cheryl Reeve said. "We deserved to win in the worst way tonight."
The Lynx head to Tulsa on Saturday to finish the season's series, with the teams tied at two victories each.
"All I can tell you is this team is pretty focused," Reeve said. "They understand a win streak would be really cool right now. They understand. It will be a great time when that starts to happen."