MINNEAPOLIS (AP) With the Minnesota Lynx missing one of their three Olympians, Monica Wright made sure they never missed a beat.
Wright hit two early 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 17 points as the Lynx beat the San Antonio Stars 91-84 on Thursday night.
Seimone Augustus missed her second straight game with bursitis in her left knee, so Wright stepped into the starting lineup and started shooting. She scored Minnesota’s first six points on two 3s, then hit another 3 before the first quarter ended.
Augustus’ two Olympic teammates eventually picked up some of the slack, as Lindsay Whalen scored 22 points and Maya Moore added 21. But Wright said she was looking to score early to help fill the void left by Augustus’ absence.
”That plays a part in it. You can kind of pick and choose your pockets to score,” Wright said. ”With the players that we have, it can be anybody on any night.”
Besides, as San Antonio coach Dan Hughes pointed out, Wright is no slouch herself. She was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 WNBA draft for a reason.
”She’s a good player, and her coming off the bench is a luxury most of us don’t have,” Hughes said. ”You pay a lot of attention to Whalen, you pay a lot of attention to Maya, and (Wright) is a good player. Even if Augustus is gone, they still have good players.”
Wright missed the first 10 games while recovering from offseason knee surgery and had scored a total of 18 points in seven games before her breakout game Thursday.
”I’ve been impressed with how quickly she’s gotten re-acclimated,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. ”I’m just really happy with Monnie’s fortitude to get through all that and be really helpful to our team right away.”
Six Stars scored in double figures, led by rookie Kayla McBride with 17.
The Lynx overcame a 35-30 deficit with a 20-1 run that spanned halftime, holding San Antonio scoreless for the final 4 minutes of the first half. Tan White beat the halftime buzzer with a long 3-pointer that put Minnesota on top 41-35.
Wright scored four quick points early in the third as the Lynx opened a 50-36 cushion. The Stars were able to cut the deficit to three points early in the fourth, but Minnesota went 10-for-10 from the free throw line down the stretch to hold on.
”We hung, but we just couldn’tt quite get over the top,” Hughes said. ”Theyre a good team when theyre able to play with the lead that much.”
The Lynx have won four of their last five and are 3-0 against the Stars this season.