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Lynx Overcome Bothersome Stars
June 25, 2017

In a game that need not have been so close, the Minnesota Lynx outlasted the previously hapless San Antonio Stars, 87-78, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul before a crowd of 9,013 spectators.

The Stars entered the game with an almost implausible 0-13 record in the WNBA, but for three quarters matched the 10-1 Lynx play-for-play. In fact, San Antonio led by 62 to 55 at the start of the fourth period.

The Lynx entered the game and played the first quarter in a fog, the possible result of a hangover from having routed the Washington Mystics on Friday. On Sunday, both teams were guilty of sloppy ball-handling and ill-advised shooting. Minnesota turned the ball over six times. Coach Cheryl Reeve observed the lax attitudes and benched four starters in favor of Gia Perkins, Natasha Howard, Plenette Pierson, and Renee Montgomery with little apparent effect. The quarter ended with the high school score of 14-14.

Lindsay Whalen re-entered the game and gave the stiff Lynx an injection of life with 10 of her 13 points, including a pair of three-pointers. San Antonio, led by Isabelle Harrison, kept pace, but the Stars trailed by 36 to 31 at the half.

The third quarter nearly broke the Lynx. Moriah Jefferson got hot, hitting for six field goals. A successful Harrison pull-up jump shot gave the Stars a 62-55 lead as the period closed. It got worse. Reserve Dearica Hamby scored her only points of the game on an easy lay-up, and San Antonio’s lead was nine.

Holding the Lynx together in the face of foul trouble was the dependable Sylvia Fowles, who despite playing only 25 minutes, was able to get to the free throw line and drop in 10 points, seven in the fourth quarter alone. She finished with a total of 22.

Maya Moore was money for the Lynx in the final quarter. Her three-pointer made it 64-58 for the visitors, and her running lay-up basket cut it to 64-62. A Fowles free throw tied the game at 64, and Montgomery’s three pointer gave Minnesota the lead.

The 12-0 run befuddled the Stars, but Jefferson knocked them out of their lethargy with a jump shot to tie the score at 67-67. Fowles’ free throws put Minnesota back on top, but Kyla McBride’s turnaround jumper re-tied the score.

In the end, it was Fowles and Moore who re-confirmed their all-star status with a combination of three and two-point baskets that saw the lead mount to 82-73 and turn the crowd roaring in delight. Moore finished with 22 points, 13 in a magnificent fourth quarter. The final score: Minnesota 87, San Antonio 78.

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