BY MIKE PEDEN
Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said Wednesday's loss to Phoenix would be all the motivation her team needed to respond with authority.
Following a road win against Indiana Friday, Minnesota followed up with a 69-62 home win over the Seattle Storm, even as Seattle controlled the game's tempo. The Lynx (9-4) were held to just six fast break points, but used a 22-2 run through the second and third quarters to build what became an insurmountable lead.
Lynx forward Seimone Augustus started slow, missing her only field goal attempt in the first, but finished with a game-high 19 points on 9-of-17 shooting.
"Our main thing was to get the ball in the post and let Rebekkah (Brunson) and Taj (McWilliams-Franklin) go to work down there. It started to collapse and they kicked out," Augustus said.
Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen got 13 points and four rebounds, collecting her 1,000th career board in the second quarter. The rebound made Whalen the sixth player in WNBA history to record 2,500 career points, 1,000 career rebounds and 1,000 career assists.
For Seattle (7-6), Tanisha Wright scored 18 points and Swin Cash put up 16 points and nine rebounds.
Similar to the first meeting of the season between the two teams, Minnesota carried a 47-26 lead following a Maya Moore put-back with 4:49 remaining in the third. Seattle, showing their championship pedigree even with no Lauren Jackson (strained left hip) or Camille Little (attending a wedding), slowly reeled in the margin on a charge led by Swin Cash and Tanisha Wright.
The 7,733 fans at Target Center held their breath when Cash sank a pair of free throws to bring Seattle within six with 1:33 left in the fourth. After trading empty possessions, Brunson provided the game-clinching play, following an 11-foot brick with an offensive rebound with 42 seconds left.
"Even though we do come back, it's a lot of energy, and it's difficult to get over the hump," said Seattle guard Sue Bird.
Whalen finished the job from the free throw line as Seattle's foul-and-chase game proved futile, and Minnesota moved to second place in the Western Conference.
Staying in front after going up big was a chronic issue for the Lynx last season, but Augustus credits spending the last half-hour of each practice simulating close-game scenarios for the team's improvement in defending leads this year.
"It's good to have a coach we understand. We're on the same page," she said.
"We're learning what play calls work for people," Whalen said.
The Lynx also learned this week that Maya Moore will make one more trip to San Antonio than originally planned; Moore was named starting forward for the Western Conference in the upcoming All-Star Game.
As the honor continued to symbolize Moore's popularity with the women's basketball community, the rookie expects to bring a few traveling buddies from the Gopher state.
"There's a good chance a lot of them could join me. I hope as many as possible," she said.
Click here to listen to an interview with Seattle's Katie Smith, who reflects on her storied WNBA career with the league now in season 15.
Click here for Seattle's Sue Bird, who was won two WNBA titles since joining the Storm in 2002.
Programs available for DVD purchase
Autism: The Wall That Knows No Limits - Award-winning documentary series providing insights on autism rarely seen in contemporary media. Produced by someone on the spectrum, this series is a wealth of information for anyone seeking to learn about autism.
$15 for one episode, $50 for the complete series (4 episodes)
What Are You? A Dialogue on Mixed Race - Originally a school assignment, this one-hour documentary explores a population that existed for many years but didn't get much focus until recently. This program examines how a small but growing segment of the population could shift racial and cultural identity. Screened at the 2009 Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival and will be screened at the inaugural Critical Mixed Race Studies conference at DePaul University. $15
From Vices to Verses: Featuring Voices Merging - From Vices to Verses: A New Era of Hip Hop and Action is a biannual conference held at the University of Minnesota. The goal is to promote the culture and history of hip-hop, which is often lost in the corporate mainstream representation. In this program, you'll see how the Voices Merging student group absorbed what they witnessed and how their experience will transform them as a group and as individuals. DVD copies come with 14 minutes of bonus footage not seen online or on TV. $15
Minnesota Machine: 2010 - Geared for Greatness - Join the professional women's football team in their historic 2nd season. Despite several injuries that depleted the roster, the Machine finished 2010 with a 6-3 record and their first division title in franchise history, edging the Iowa Thunder in the Midwest Division of the American Conference. This highlight reel includes clips from the 2010 season and their interview on the cable television show Rollin' and Tumblin' - $15
Silhouettes by RZI Couture - The inaugural breast cancer benefit fashion premiere took place in St. Paul and was met with a fabulous response. All the models were breast cancer survivors or relatives of someone affected by breast cancer and all the clothing was designed by Rosalyn Smaller, owner of RZI Couture and currently fighting breast cancer herself. The TV version features testimonials from the models and co-host Miss Georgia of KMOJ. $10 of every purchase will be donated to RZI Couture to help the breast cancer fight! $15