Whalen leads Lynx to OT win vs. Stars
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — On a record-setting night for Taj McWilliams-Franklin, it was her specialty that led the Minnesota Lynx to victory.
The 13-year veteran was one of three Lynx with five offensive rebounds, and Minnesota scored 29 second-chance points on 19 offensive boards to grind out a 96-84 overtime victory against the San Antonio Silver Stars on Tuesday night.
McWilliams-Franklin scored a season-high 19 points, while Rebekkah Brunson added 17 to go with a franchise-record and career-best 20 rebounds as the Western Conference-leading Lynx pushed the third-place Silver Stars to three games back in the standings.
“We knew we had to limit their second chance points,” Brunson said. “We really focused in on not letting them get those offensive boards and we always try to attack the glass offensively to get extra possessions and extra points.”
Seimone Augustus scored 19 points for the Lynx, Lindsay Whalen chipped in eight of her 15 in overtime and Maya Moore added 14 as Minnesota (20-4) extended its winning streak to seven games. It also improved to 12-1 at home.
McWilliams-Franklin’s putback with 1:51 left in the second quarter put her in sole possession of the WNBA’s offensive rebounding record, and she grabbed two more the rest of the way for a career total of 1,052. Yolanda Griffith held the previous record with 1,049.
“I’m thankful to have my name first, and in a couple years it will be someone else’s and I’ll move down the line,” McWilliams-Franklin said. “But for now I’m just proud I’m here and able to continue playing, able to be someone the Minnesota Lynx can depend on.”
Sophia Young and Jia Perkins led San Antonio with 19 points apiece, while Becky Hammon added 13 and Danielle Robinson scored 10. The Silver Stars lost for the second time in three games after winning 12 straight.
After falling behind by nine points in the fourth quarter, San Antonio (17-7) finished the game on an 8-2 run to send the contest into overtime. Hammon missed a potential game-winning runner at the end of regulation.
From there, it was all Minnesota.
The Lynx scored 10 consecutive points to begin overtime, five coming from Whalen. San Antonio shot just 1 for 7 in the extra period and scored five points, while the Lynx — who shot 43.5 percent in regulation — went 7 of 9 from the floor.
“The second half we had a much better focus of trying to compete against the physicality and got through their defense a little bit, so in the overtime we had a lot of confidence in that area,” Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. “When you get a couple stops and couple scores, then all of a sudden everything just raises and you can dig in defensively.”
Minnesota outrebounded the Silver Stars 52-31, including a 19-7 margin on the offensive glass. It proved to be the difference against a San Antonio team that was the only squad to push the Lynx to three games during last season’s playoff run to the WNBA title.
Minnesota has won two of the three games against the Silver Stars this season with a pair of contests left between the teams in San Antonio.
“They sure have been great games,” Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said. “When you get on the road and are playing good teams and they reach that kind of intensity you find out what you do well and what you don’t do well. As tough as it is to lose, I think there’s a learning possibility from this type of game.”
The Silver Stars lost for the first time in 14 games this season where they held a halftime lead.