BY MIKE PEDEN
The Minnesota Lynx are now one game away from clinching home-court advantage throughout the playoffs after beating the Washington Mystics 73-56 Tuesday night at Target Center.
Getting some help with Atlanta beating Indiana, one more Minnesota win or Indiana loss would officially give Minnesota the first overall playoff seed.
"We've done a good job of enjoying the small victories and turning back around and getting re-focused," said Lynx forward Maya Moore.
All 11 Minnesota (24-6) players scored, as bench production was pivotal for creating another runaway victory, scoring 29 points against Washington's (5-24) 14.
"They want to do well. When they know they do well, they play more," said Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve.
Although Lindsay Whalen exploded in the first half, making her first nine shots, Lynx turnovers and Mystics rebounding kept the game close midway through the third quarter. In that stretch, Minnesota's bench was blanked with the limited minutes they received.
With 5:44 left in the third and Minnesota leading 40-39, Monica Wright nailed a 22-foot three-pointer to spark a 13-0 run and the contest was never in doubt.
"We never want to be blanked. There's something inside yourself that you have to bring out when you're not doing so well," said Lynx reserve center Jessica Adair, who scored double-figures for the first time in her career with 10.
Adair, playing more minutes as she grows more comfortable with her leaner, quicker body, is less concerned about getting in foul trouble and more focused on contributing offensively.
"It's making all my free throws, making contested lay-ups," she said.
Whalen scored a game-high 21 points, finishing 10-of-12 from the floor.
"I was trying to be aggressive, get off the pick and roll, get in the lane," she said.
Mystics forward Crystal Langhorne scored 13 points with guard Matee Ajavon struggling to reach 10, making just four of 15 field goals.
Washington, eliminated from playoff contention some time ago, laid out a warning to any playoff opponent the Lynx get.
"Very hard-nosed, blue-collar workers. I think they'll get the job done," Ajavon said about Minnesota's playoff push.
Perhaps they understand the most out of any team. The Mystics traded their 2012 first-round pick for the Lynx's Nicky Anosike prior to this year's draft, meaning the Lynx will once again get to take part in the draft lottery to bolster a team already feared by opponents.
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