Lynx 70, Silver Stars 69
SAN ANTONIO (AP)
Whalen hit a fadeaway jumper from the right corner over Jayne Appel with 1.5 seconds left to give the Lynx a 70-69 victory over the Silver Stars on Sunday.
Becky Hammon had a chance to win it for San Antonio but missed a runner at the buzzer.
Whalen had a season-high 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals, while Seimone Augustus scored 16 and Taj McWilliams-Franklin had 15 for the Lynx (13-4), who have the WNBA's best record.
Minnesota has matched its win total from last year and moved two games ahead of the Silver Stars (11-6) in the Western Conference.
''(Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes) was yelling to foul, so I wanted to get the shot off because I knew there wouldn't be enough time to run another set play after a foul,'' Whalen said. ''I just tried to get a shot up and over the defender and it went in.''
''It was a tough shot,'' said the 6-foot-4 Appel, who is six inches taller than Whalen. ''There's not much more I could have done.''
The Lynx have won six straight games, matching the longest single-season winning streak in franchise history. They also won six straight in 2004.
The teams meet again Thursday in Minnesota, the first of three more meetings over the remainder of the regular season.
Rebekkah Brunson had 13 rebounds for the Lynx, who outrebounded the Silver Stars 43-28. Minnesota held San Antonio to 39.3 percent shooting to improve to 8-0 when holding an opponent under 40 percent.
The Lynx trailed by 12 points at halftime, but a combination of Whalen and Minnesota's defense helped turn the tide in the third quarter. Whalen had 12 points, four assists and two steals, while the Silver Stars shot only 33.3 percent in the quarter.
''You don't know until you've been in that spot,'' McWilliams-Franklin said. ''This is the first time we've been down and had to come back. The games we lost, we were up and let the other teams come back on us. It was our first real challenge on the season.''
Whalen either scored or assisted on the Lynx's final 12 points of the quarter - including Brunson's jumper with 1.7 seconds left to give the Lynx the lead for the first time since the first quarter.
''We kind of came together at halftime,'' Whalen said. ''We knew it wasn't us, it wasn't the team we wanted to be on the floor in the first half.''
The Silver Stars were playing their second game without All-Star rookie Danielle Adams, who is expected to miss four to six weeks with a sprained right foot. She was on crutches and wearing a walking boot.
Even though it was the first meeting of the season between the teams, four Lynx players were in San Antonio only eight days ago for the All-Star game. Whalen, Augustus, Brunson and Maya Moore represented the West. Hammon and Adams were the Silver Stars' All-Stars.