The WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx were not invited to the White House to honor their fourth league championship.
So, the champions, mired in a four-game losing streak, took to the streets of Washington D.C., handing out sneakers to 300 underprivileged kids and shooting hoops at a local elementary school.
“I’m so ridiculously blessed to have so (many) memories at the White House, so many great ones,” said Maya Moore, who had made the previous three visits. “This will probably be more unique. We made some great memories with these kids. … We’ll definitely remember this.”
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Perhaps bathing in a bit of karma, Moore and her team then went out and ended the losing streak with an 88-80 victory over the Washington Mystics Thursday night, raising their disappointing early record to 3-5 with another difficult road test coming up.
On Saturday, the Lynx visit the sizzling Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., with the Sun improving to 6-1 with a dramatic Thursday night road win over the New York Liberty.
The Sun won their first five games, the first three at home, before losing at Atlanta in Game 6. But Shekinna Stricklen converted a four-point play at the buzzer to produce an 88-86 win in the finale of a four-game trip.
“I’ve never hit a game-winner, that was my first time,” Stricklen said after her heroics.
“I know I’m a good shooter, my mindset was mentally always stay ready. That last play, Jas (Thomas) is a great driver. I kind of saw the look in her face. I read her face. She found me and I knocked it down.”
Sylvia Fowles delivered 21 points and 12 rebounds — her sixth double-double of the young season — while Moore scored 19 points and Simeone Augustus added 16 in Minnesota’s win Thursday night.
“Obviously we were pretty desperate,” head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We had dropped four in a row. The most in this team’s time together, the four or five who have been together. … I thought we were pretty gritty, we held them to 11 in the fourth quarter. That was obviously the key to the game.”
The win avenged a May 25 loss on the same floor, when the Lynch failed to hold an 18-point lead and fell to the Mystics.
Jasmine Thomas had 19 points and eight assists, and Chiney Ogwumike 16 points and eight boards for the Sun on Thursday night. Alyssa Thomas, who scored 19 points and tied her career high with 17 rebounds in the loss at Atlanta, had 11 points, nine boards and four assists.
Stricklen was told earlier in the week she would not be starting and would be coming off the bench.
“I totally understand everything; I’m a team player,” she said. “If this team stays together, we can go a long way.”
The Sun play two straight at home after the four-game trip — then leave again for a five-game trip.