The Minnesota Lynx head into a monthlong Olympic break having won six straight games and tied the WNBA record for most consecutive 20-win seasons at six. The season has been historic in many ways (a 13-0 start, Seimone Augustus scoring her 5,000th career point, Lindsay Whalen becoming the first player in WNBA history to reach 5,000 points, 2,0000 assists and 1,500 rebounds). It hasn’t been perfect, however, as the Lynx sustained a three-game losing streak and lost four of six during one stretch. Here’s an in-depth breakdown of the Lynx’s first half:
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Most Valuable Player: Maya Moore
Moore, a six-year veteran, leads the Lynx in minutes per game (29.8), points per game (19.4) and assists per game (4.4) while ranking third on the team in rebounds per game (5.2). She’s led the team in scoring in 15 of its 25 games this season and scored 40 points in a July 7 loss at Connecticut, the highest single-game total in the WNBA this season. Moore led the Lynx with a plus/minus rating of +306 after 24 games and is shooting a career-best 88.6 percent from the free-throw line. She ranks fourth in the WNBA in scoring this year.
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Most Valuable Veteran: Sylvia Fowles
Fowles has established herself as one of the Lynx’s key players in the past year, averaging 13.2 points and a team-leading 8.5 rebounds per game this season. The 6-foot-6 center has scored in double figures 17 times this season and has 29 blocks over the past 10 games. She also has six double-doubles on the season, including a 19-rebound game July 17 at Dallas.
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Best Moment (Part One): Renee Montgomery’s game-winning 3-pointer June 21 vs. the Los Angeles Sparks
With the game tied at 69, Lindsay Whalen drove to the basket and found Montgomery in the corner for an open 3-pointer. The eighth-year veteran hit the shot with 2.9 seconds remaining, helping the Lynx improve to 13-0 with a win over the previously undefeated Sparks. The game featured 17 lead changes, and neither team had more than a three-point lead in the fourth quarter.
NBAE/Getty ImagesJuan Ocampo
Best Moment (Part Two): Seimone Augustus’ game-winning shot in overtime July 17 against the Dallas Wings
With the Lynx training by one, Augustus received the ball from Whalen, dribbled twice to her left and sank a fadeaway jump shot with 15.3 seconds remaining, helping the Lynx to a fourth straight win. Minnesota had trailed by three with 1:21 remaining in overtime before Whalen hit a pair of free throws and Augustus hit the game-winning shot.
NBAE/Getty ImagesLayne Murdoch
Biggest Area for Improvement: Maintaining fourth-quarter leads
The Lynx lost fourth-quarter leads of at least 10 points in two of their four losses this season, including an 11-point lead with 1:59 remaining at Connecticut. Dallas outscored the Lynx 26-13 in the fourth quarter July 17 to force overtime, limiting Minnesota to 35.3 percent shooting. Through July 20, the Lynx were averaging just 18.6 points and 42.2 percent shooting in the fourth quarter during their previous 15 games, compared to 22.6 points and 54 percent shooting in the fourth quarter of their first nine.