It’s not unusual to see the Minnesota Lynx breaking records in recent years, but there is still no way to understate how incredible it is for Maya Moore to start the season by putting up the best offensive string of games in WNBA history.
“Well, we’ll take every W as they come. We’ve got the biggest fan base, maybe in the history of the league right now in Maya Moore. For the first time in WNBA history, and that goes back to Cynthia Cooper…Maya just took her place at the top of some of the greatest players ever offensively.”
Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve
After four games, Maya Moore is averaging 33.75 points per game and is a clear favorite for MVP status early on. Moore came out a house of fire during the first quarter, putting up 14 points on 5-7 shooting with 4-4 from behind the 3pt line in just the first 7 minutes of play. Watching any player in that sort of a zone is a remarkable thing to see, and according to Maya, her and her teammates have got more yet to show.
“It’s not all me. Of course they are going to see I scored 30 looking at the points, but my teammates do so much for me. It’s all a team aggression; I just try to set the tone in the beginning. Hopefully we can continue to carry that over in our defensive end, and have our defense match our offense.”
Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore
The Lynx, as a whole, displayed tremendous efficiency during the first quarter. Minnesota shot 57% overall from the field and didn’t miss from the FT stripe, while holding New York to a dismal 35% shooting percentage and no 3pt buckets. Lynx rookie center Dimiris Dantas posted 6 first quarter rebounds as Minnesota held to a 24-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
A miscommunication at the end of the first quarter between Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore led to a head-to-head collision that left Seimone dazed and gave Maya a gash that required five stitches next to her right eye. The collision kept both players out of the majority of the remainder of the first half. It was a frightening moment for the Lynx, especially with the injuries to starter Rebekkah Brunson, and key role players Monica Wright and Devereaux Peters.
“I got hit on the top of my head, but Maya probably got the worst of it because it’s more obvious on her face. It’s throbbing right now. I have a massive headache, I’ll be ok…I got Tylenol.”
Minnesota Lynx forward Seimone Augustus
Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen stepped up in the absents of Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus putting up 11 hard fought points during the second quarter, but received little to no support from a young bench still trying to find their footing in the WNBA.
The Liberty jumped on their opportunity and as Tina Charles and Cappie Pondexter led an offensive assault combining for 27 points in the first half. That momentum allowed New York to fight their way back into the contest putting up 22 points in the second quarter while limiting Minnesota to just 14 to bring the half time score to 39-36 in favor of the Lynx.
“I think that is what we are looking for in rebuilding a team. She (Tina Charles) is a great player obviously and makes an immediate impact in terms of scoring and rebounds. You always have to welcome that.”
New York Liberty guard Cappie Pondexter
Minnesota was slow getting out of the half, and New York again took advantage starting the half with a 9-2 run that gave them a 4-point lead early. Liberty starters Tina Charles, Essence Carson, and Anna Cruz made an impact in the quarter combining for 13 points and 7 assists.
Lynx starters Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus seemed to still be feeling to effects of the collision during the third where they shot a combined 4-11 from the field. Rookie forward Asia Taylor stepped up her game by posting 8 points on 3-3 shooting, 2-2 ft, 3 rebounds, adding an assist during the quarter to help keep Minnesota slightly ahead of a motivated Liberty squad.
The fourth quarter was a hard knocked, fast-paced battle by both teams. New York kept chipping away at the lead behind the leadership of center Tina Charles, who had a great game putting up a total of 24 points while adding 14 rebounds. Minnesota starters Moore and Augustus regained their footing, while center Janelle McCarville dished out 4 fourth-quarter assist to help Minnesota retain the lead.
Liberty guard Cappie Pondexter (who finished the night with 18 points) knocked down a 3pt shot with 24.6 left on the clock to put New York within 3 points, but the (4-0) Lynx stood tall and fought to hold off the (1-2) Liberty 87-82.
“I thought we competed hard. If we play that engaged throughout the course of the season we’re going to win a lot of basketball games…Simone Augustus and Maya Moore made some big shots coming down the stretch, that’s what they do, they’re great players. We made some mistakes and they took advantage of it.”
New York Liberty Head Coach Bill Laimbeer
MVP goes to Maya Moore whose 30 points led all Lynx scorers and secured her name in amongst the greatest offensive WNBA players of all-time. Lindsay Whalen made a nice contribution putting up 21 points, and Seimone Augustus finished the night with 18. Starting center Janelle McCarville led the team in assists with 6, while rookie center/forward Damiris Dantas had a team high 8 rebounds during the contest.
“She’s (Maya Moore) obviously playing on a really high level right now. She’s hitting her threes, and she’s making a lot of other things happen. Maya’s done a great job this year being a great leader and making things happen. Of course it’s fun when you see someone on a toll like that, it’s always good.”
Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen
Up next, Maya Moore will get the chance to make history again by potentially pushing her 30-point streak to five games as the Minnesota Lynx take on the Chicago Sky on Monday May 26th at 2:30pm on ESPN2.