SAN ANTONIO – After a slow start, the Lynx rallied to defeat the San Antonio Stars 89-70 on Friday night behind the hot shooting of Maya Moore. The small forward scored a game-high 24 points, going 10-for-15 from the field.
Center Sylvia Fowles added 11 points and 10 rebounds for her 17th double-double of the season and reserve Natasha Howard nearly matched her with 11 points and nine rebounds.
With the win, the Lynx (24-6) assured themselves of finishing in the top two at the end of the WNBA regular season, meaning they will have a double bye into the semifinals. The Lynx play at the second-place Los Angeles Sparks, 1½ games behind, on Sunday.
“Every win is important, that’s where we are at,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We have worked long and hard all season to be in position to try to be the No. 1 seed in the WNBA playoffs.”
In the opener of a three-game road trip, Minnesota, playing without starters Rebekkah Brunson (ankle) and Lindsay Whalen (hand), trailed San Antonio 23-15 at the end of the first quarter. But Moore took over at the start of the next quarter, scoring seven points in an 11-2 run which put the Lynx ahead 26-25.
“Offensively, I was just trying to be aggressive, I felt like my team needed a lift in that first half,” Moore said. “I was just looking to be locked in to whatever play was being called or whatever I saw offensively, I was [also] able to find my teammates a few times, so it felt good.”
By halftime, Minnesota led 46-37 behind Moore’s efficiency. She was 7-for-8 from the field and made both her free throws for 18 points. Renee Montgomery, starting at point guard in Whalen’s place, had only five points but six assists.
The lead was 66-48 going into the fourth quarter. San Antonio (7-25) started the fourth quarter on an 8-1 run to get within 11 points, but Minnesota scored the next 10 points to regain control.
“We knew that Maya Moore was going to have a good game,” Stars coach Vickie Johnson said. “She’s one of the best, if not, the best player in this league. Then we let [Natasha] Howard come in. She’s a very active player and was able to do some things as well. We started off well, but this game is not 10 minutes.
The start time of this game was moved up an hour because of Hurricane Harvey.