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All-around support illuminates Lynx win over Stars

Minnesota guard Lindsay Whalen had plenty of seams to drive through, resulting in a slew of uncontested lay-ups Thursday night against San Antonio.
Matthew Fleegel

Seimone Augustus missed her second straight game due to knee bursitis, but the Minnesota Lynx were not deterred by her absence.

A collective effort from Minnesota's remaining core was enough to secure a 91-84 win over the San Antonio Stars Thursday night at Target Center.

"Every game is a little bit more progress. With the players we have, anybody can contribute," said Minnesota guard Monica Wright.

Four Lynx (13-5) players contributed double-digit scoring outputs. Lindsay Whalen led the team with 22 points and 7 assists. Maya Moore chipped in 21 points and Wright scored a season-high 17.

Wright played in her eighth game since returning from a knee scope, but lacked a signature performance in 2014 until Thursday night. She made only 5 of 12 field goals, but she drained three triples in a row in the first quarter to energize home base.

"Her lift offensively was due to her being really poised. I've been impressed with how quickly she's been re-acclimated," said Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve.

San Antonio's (9-9) strong rebounding in the early stages helped muscle a 35-30 lead midway through the second quarter, with Minnesota having difficulty converting mid-range jumpers. Inside penetration kick-started a 20-1 run for the Lynx that would last through the 6:27 mark of the third.

The Stars closed in several times, but never got within one possession for the remainder of the game. Several clutch plays by the Lynx exerted the team's thorough control, even when the score suggested otherwise. Whalen's patented drive to the lane highlighted her team's resolve.

"A big thing was being aggressive and getting some great screen-and-rolls with me and the posts. (San Antonio) not leaving the shooters opened things up," she said.

Minnesota's defense played a significant role, forcing 16 turnovers that led to 20 points. San Antonio compounded the problem due to their trouble recognizing the shot clock, getting called for four violations.

"They were denying us in the wing. We weren't getting open. It's mostly just us letting them get into our heads," said San Antonio guard Kayla McBride.

The final turnover on the Stars proved to be the costliest. The Lynx led 79-69 with 3:36 left in the fourth quarter when Becky Hammon was hit in the face by a defender, backing off to assess her physical state as play continued. Hammon then noticed the shot clock was close to expiring, and rushed a pass that was picked off by Devereaux Peters, who scored on a give-and-go with Moore.

Peters recorded five steals and three blocks when the final buzzer sounded.

"We just had some mental lapses in defense. They were getting easy buckets and we weren't hitting shots on the offensive end," McBride said.

McBride was one of six Stars to crack double-digits, recording a team-high 17 points. Danielle Robinson had 13 points, and three players had 11 points each.

Minnesota gets two days off before traveling on the road to face New York at Madison Square Garden. The Lynx last played in the historic venue in 2010, prior to the facility's renovations. Sunday's game will begin a stretch of three games in five days.

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