Greetings from the Target Center for the last time in the Lynx’s regular season.
Tonight’s 73-67 win was far tighter than it needed to be. Minnesota was up 18 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter when coach Cheryl Reeve went to the bench. It changed the momentum of the game. By the time Reeve went back to her starters early in the fourth quarter, the lead was down to 8, and the starters just couldn’t regain their flow. The lead was shaved to one point twice by Seattle. Up by just three with 13.6 left, Maya Moore appeared to tip a Seattle inbounds pass back out of bounds. But, upon further review, the officials awarded the Lynx the ball. Tricia Liston hit two free throws and the game was over.
Here are some notes from the game:
--The Lynx, who clinched their fourth Western Conference title in five seasons, will now have home court advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs. Those playoffs will open with a best-of-three series against Los Angeles that will start here either Sept. 17 or 18. “We know they’re a really good team,” Reeve said. “Especially since the All Star break, getting Candace Parker back and players healthy, it’s a team that has gone through its own challenges. They’ve hung together and earned a playoff spot. I know it will be a tough playoff matchup.’’
--The Lynx still have something to play for. If the Lynx win Friday in Seattle and New York loses its final three games the Lynx would finish with the league’s best record. That is unlikely. But Chicago, second in the Eastern Conference, is 20-12, and Reeve wants to make sure the Lynx finish better than that should the two teams meet in the finals.
--Anna Cruz had her best game in a Lynx uniform tonight. She played 35-plus minutes, made six of nine shots, scored 15 points and had eight assists. She hit a key three-pointer late in the fourth quarter. Cruz had been struggling with her shot, and she has put in a lot of extra time after practices working to make it better. “She was the player of the game,” Reeve said. “She has worked hard on her shot. One of the most fulfilling things as a coach is to see a player work so hard, and have success.’’
--Reeve is still hoping to be at full strength by the time the playoffs start. We should know, for sure, about injured players Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus when the Lynx meet for practice next Monday.
That’s about it for now. Have a good rest of your week.