Lynx-Silver Stars Preview
Despite being without one of their top players, the Minnesota Lynx finished a grueling stretch without a loss.
With a game against the struggling San Antonio Silver Stars up next, their winning streak could very well continue.
Minnesota looks for a fifth straight victory Friday night when it visits a San Antonio team trying to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat.
The Lynx (11-3) started their stretch of four games in seven days with a 91-59 home win over Phoenix on July 7, but also lost three-time All-Star guard Seimone Augustus to a sprained ankle. Despite being without Augustus and her 15.5 points per game, they then reeled off wins over Atlanta, Indiana and Tulsa by an average of 13.3 points.
Monica Wright averaged 16.7 points on 51.4 percent shooting in three games while taking over for Augustus in Minnesota's lineup. Augustus' availability for Friday is still unclear, but the Lynx now know what they have in Wright, who averaged 9.7 points in her previous 11 contests.
"We know she's always going to play defense and bring energy, now she's turned into a very consistent scorer for us," guard Lindsay Whalen told the team's official website. "It's been fun to see."
Whalen scored a season-high 25 in an 86-75 win at Tulsa on Saturday, pushing the team to 2-0 on its four-game trip. Minnesota started hot with a 17-2 run in the first quarter and Whalen scored 11 of her points in the third. Maya Moore finished with 22.
"We came out just as I hoped," coach Cheryl Reeve said. "We played well all week and continued that tonight. I liked our energy. I liked our leadership from Maya and Lindsay and our entire team fed off them."
San Antonio's defense - one of the league's worst allowing 82.7 points per game - could be in trouble against a Minnesota squad that has scored 86 or more in five of its last seven.
The Silver Stars' losing streak hit three with Tuesday's 86-64 setback at Washington. It was the 10th time in 11 contests San Antonio (4-11) surrendered at least 80 points.
The offense also struggled, going scoreless for a span of more than nine minutes in the second half while missing 14 consecutive shots.
"We just could not find a way to stop the bleeding," said DeLisha Milton-Jones, who tallied 10 points and six rebounds but also accounted for five of San Antonio's 16 turnovers, which led to 21 Washington points.
Minnesota won for the 10th time in the last 12 regular-season meetings with an 87-72 home victory June 11. Whalen had a game-high 23 points with seven rebounds and six assists while Moore scored 19. Shenise Johnson led San Antonio with 16 points off the bench.
The Lynx, whose 39.6 rebounds per game is among the league's best, outrebounded the Silver Stars 40-29. San Antonio's rebounding average of 30.5 is near the bottom of the WNBA.