After three difficult loses, including an overtime battle in Chicago, the Lynx managed to regain their composure and find their stride against the Liberty. The smart shot selection and gritty defense led Minnesota to an 88-57 win over a New York team struggling to adapt to the loss of Cappie Pondexter due to a foot injury.
“We had everything lined up on how to guard them. Who should be where, why they should be there, when they should be there… Everybody took it upon themselves to really buy in, focus, come out and execute…and that’s what got us the victory.”
Minnesota Lynx center Janel McCarville
The contest signified the end of an era for Liberty guard Katie Smith, (who had spent seven of her sixteen WNBA seasons with Minnesota), as it was her final game playing at Target Center. Smith did her fans proud posting 11 points on 71% shooting, while adding 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 assists.
The game also signified a new beginning for Taj McWilliams-Franklin as it marked her first trip to Target Center in her new role as Assistant Coach for the New York Liberty under Head Coach Bill Laimbeer.
“I was really happy to see Taj. When you see Taj out there you want to run in the back and get her a uniform. Taj is up there for one of my all-time favorite players. ”
Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve
The game itself seemed to belong to the Lynx. They played with a ton of passion and really displayed the heart necessary to fight through adversity as they returned to form building a 29-16 first quarter lead.
The Liberty fought back during the second period and managed to pull within 9 at the half, but appeared confused when facing the Lynx defensive schemes during the second half falling behind by as many as 32 while only posting 23 total second half points.
Minnesota brought defense back to the forefront holding New York to 31% shooting for the game, and just 35% shooting from inside the paint, as they sent a message that all buckets need to be earned.
Offensively, the Lynx decided to step back…at least to the three point stripe, making 11-19 from deep and creating a whole new conundrum for opposing coaches. Maya Moore was lit up shooting 6-10 from deep as part of her 28 points during the contest, while adding 5 assists and 3 blocked shots.
On the three-point mentality of the game…
“We had to be aggressive, stand-up and shoot em’… My teammates did a great job getting me open, and thankfully they were going in.”
Minnesota Lynx guard Maya Moore
Rookie guard Rachel Jarry played the most minutes of her young career filling in for the injured Monica Wright, and made them count. Jarry finished the night with 11 points (3-4 from three-point), three rebounds, and two assists.
“It is tough coming off the bench, you feel like you have to contribute. I think the main thing is, just knowing your role and how you can contribute… It’s about staying ready every day.”
Minnesota Lynx guard Rachel Jarry
Lynx forward Seimone Augustus played a very smart game, making decisions, and contributions that don’t always show up in the statistics, as well as one’s that do. Augustus closed out with 12 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, a steal, and a block.
Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson, and Janel McCarville all played within their positions, and even though they didn’t post big numbers, they played a great game in front of an energetic crowd and hopefully regained some momentum moving forward.
“I just told the team what I’m proud of is how we all stepped up in Moni’s (Monica Wright) absense. For someone like Rachel, who hasn’t sniffed the floor since the first five games, to take an opportunity and run with it. We have been talking to her and we weren’t afraid of her catching and shooting three balls. She was ready, give her a lot of credit.”
Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve