MINNEAPOLIS — Seimone Augustus scored 17 points in her return from a knee injury and the Minnesota Lynx beat the San Antonio Stars 88-78 on Friday night for their sixth straight victory.
After missing eight games and the All-Star Game because of bursitis in her left knee, Augustus received a loud ovation as she was introduced in the starting lineup. The cheers were even louder in the fourth quarter when she fueled a 12-0 run that put the game out of reach.
"At first it was like, ‘Ugh, got to catch my breath,’" said Augustus, who also had six assists. "Legs were kind of tired, but once the game got going I got into a rhythm. It felt great."
The knee sure looked fine during the deciding run. With 6:33 left, Augustus brought the crowd to its feet on a behind-the-back, crossover step-back from 19 feet away. The shot fell, the Lynx went up by 12, and San Antonio called timeout.
"The stuff that Seimone does, she does in her sleep," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "The behind the back, the crossover, she’s been doing it so long it’s really not hard, it’s like riding a bike you’ve just to get right back to it."
Lindsay Whalen added 14 points to help Minnesota (19-6) beat San Antonio for the 10th straight time at Target Center. Maya Moore had 12 points three nights after scoring a career-high 48 against Atlanta. Rebekkah Brunson scored 10 in her second game back since missing 23 games after right knee surgery.
It was the first time Minnesota’s roster was at full strength all season.
"I joke with her and Brunson, they’ve played so many games in their career so missing a couple of weeks is really nothing for them," Reeve said.
Danielle Robinson led the Stars (12-13) with 15 points, Shenise Johnson had 13 and Kayla McBride 12.
Minnesota led by 10 points in the third quarter before San Antonio used a 13-6 run to cut the Lynx’s lead to 52-51 with 5:15 to play in the period. The Stars went 8 for 18 from 3-point range to Minnesota’s 1-of-9 performance, but the Lynx shot 18 free throws to San Antonio’s four.
"That’s tough to make up," Stars coach Dan Hughes said. "That’s a tough scenario for us to make that differential up in that situation and we had to deal with some foul trouble that we don’t normally do."
Minnesota outscored the Stars in the paint 38-30 and had 17 second-chance points to San Antonio’s nine, mostly thanks to tough inside play by Brunson and Janel McCarville, who finished with 11 points.
"It’s good to be able to have the physical presence of all 12 members of our team," Moore said.
Now they just have to get used to each other again.
"It’s just a matter of putting all those pieces together, and making sure that we are all continuing to focus on what we can bring to the game when it’s our turn to go in," Moore said.