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WNBA: Minnesota Lynx stay resilient at home against Washington Mystics.

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Lynx forward Seimone Augustus showed tremendous grit while playing through a knee injury that left her out of the lineup against Phoenix on Wednesday. Her teammates seemed inspired by Augustus’s toughness, and put up a strong defensive effort as the (10-4) Lynx completed the sweep against (5-8) Washington with a 75-65 victory at Target Center.

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“I appreciate Seimone playing through significant pain and she has had it all week. One game she couldn’t play, and the ones she did play, she was hurting. She took it for the team today and I appreciate her being out there.”

Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve

The game started with both teams playing well. The Mystics were moving the ball well and doing a nice job of distributing shots. Washington saw good bench production from Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Kara Lawson, but the starters struggled and missed on some open opportunities, which allowed the Lynx to push ahead 20-16 behind the play of Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, and Maya Moore.

“I gotta do what I gotta do. 50 percent of me is better than none of me as far as being on the court and helping my team. It’s tough, but I’m just excited to be out there after not being able to play in Phoenix. I just want to help my team.”

Minnesota Lynx guard Seimone Augustus

Minnesota opened the second quarter on a 17-6 run punctuated by great ball movement and strong defense. Rookie Tricia Liston showed signs of growing confidence within the system, finding her range from deep, and finishing plays set up by Lynx starters Augustus and Maya Moore.

Washington fought to stay in the contest as the halfway mark approached with some solid outside shooting from Kara Lawson. Mystics guard Bria Hartley did a good job of pushing the lane and setting up her teammates, while center Kia Vaughn worked hard on the glass as the game headed into halftime with Minnesota up 43-34.

The third quarter turned into an all-out defensive brawl. Both teams were picking up their assignments, and creating havoc for shooters. As the Mystics starters tried to regain control Lynx forward Maya Moore found her rhythm on both sides and held strong.

Maya Moore had help offensively from Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen, as well as strong defense from reserves Tan White and Devereaux Peters, while Minnesota managed to hold the lead 58-48 going into the fourth.

“I think they respect us a little bit more. Game plan was just that they were a lot deeper, you have a situation where with Peters and Monica Wright back, it really makes a difference…They’re not one-hundred percent but it gives the starters a little bit of rest. Obviously Lindsay, Maya, Seimone, and Janel are big time players, you talk about Olympians, we don’t have any of those right now.”

Washington Mystics Head Coach Mike Thibault

The final quarter was relatively even, Washington had issues with finishing shots and used aggressive inside play to get to the free throw stripe at a high rate. While the Lynx showed great shot distribution, and clutch shooting down the stretch from Janel McCarville, Lindsay Whalen, and Seimone Augustus to hold off the Mystics 75-65.

On the shots that went down late for Minnesota…

“Yeah, I was going to jump on McCarville when she hit that, it made me mad. I was trying to call her name so she would miss it, but they hit those shots.”

Washington Mystics center Kia Vaughn

Reserve Kara Lawson scored a team high 14 for the Mystics, while starting center Kia Vaughn pulled down a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Starting guard Bria Hartley made a solid contribution by adding 10 points and 6 assists, while staring forwards Monique Currie and Emma Meesseman combined for 17 points.

Maya Moore had a spectacular night, putting up three assists shy of a triple-double, scoring 20 while adding 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Lindsay Whalen played an all-around great game putting up 12 points on 5-7 shooting and recording 7 assists. While starting center Janel McCarville finished with 8 points and 7 boards, and rookie Tricia Liston scored 7 points on 3-4 from the floor.

Player of the game honors go to Minnesota Lynx guard Seimone Augustus for her inspiring performance while playing through significant pain. Augustus ended the game with 19 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal as she led her team to a 75-65 win over Washington.

“She’s (Seimone Augustus) a leader, she leads by example. She’s had to do that several times throughout her career and she just sets the way, and leads the way of how you carry yourself when you play through pain. It fires me up and everybody else up. It’s just amazing to see, with the pain she has, to have focus and go 9-14 from the floor. You can’t help but to play hard when your captains are playing like that.”

Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore

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