In the final game of the WNBA preseason, the Minnesota Lynx were able to hold off a late charge from the New York Liberty to get the victory, 85-80.
The Lynx starting line-up consisted of familiar faces, Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson and Damiris Dantas. The New York Liberty starting line-up consisted of Candace Wiggins, rookie Kia Stokes, also Tina Charles, Tanisha Wright and Essence Carlson.
Moore started the game hot for the Lynx, as she knocked down their first two jump-shots. Then second-year player Tricia Liston followed suit with her long range ability -- she was hot the entire night from three-point range. The Liberty were extremely aggressive on the defensive end, but the Lynx were just too much to handle for the Liberty. At the end of the first quarter the Lynx had a 15 point lead.
The Lynx continued to dominate in the second quarter, as Liston continued to hit from downtown. The Liberty could not seem to get over the hump, as they were down by 15 at halftime.
Just when you thought this game might be a blow out for the Lynx, the Liberty made a few runs to chip away and cut the lead down to 11 early in the third quarter. But it seemed like with every run, Moore would respond for the Lynx, as she made 6 out of 9 of her field goal attempts in the third quarter.
By the quarter's end, New York had eventually cut the lead to seven. One player that stood out for the Liberty was rookie Rebecca Allen. The 6-foot-2 Australian looked really good for New York in the second half, as she hit a few clutch shots to keep them in the game. In spite of Allen's performance, the Liberty could not gain the lead, even though they came close by tying it with about four minutes left in the game.
It was crunch time for both teams, as they continued to go back and forth trading baskets. Minnesota called a time-out, and what they talked about seemed to work for them as they executed a nice play, with a pass from Brunson that led to an Augustus basket.
New York continued to fight, staying in the game as both Allen and Brittany Boyd hit some key shots for them that pulled the Liberty to within arm's length with about a minute left in the game. But the Lynx called a time-out and Moore hit a three, which gave Minnesota the momentum, and they pulled away.
Granted that it is still preseason, both teams looked as though they are still finding their chemistry. With the home opener coming up for the Lynx this Friday, they have to still narrow their roster down.
"Tonight was not necessary a good step forward, but it was a necessary night for us in terms of competition that continued to expose issues that we have," said Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve after the game.
Impact players of the game
Maya Moore definitely was a key impact player. She started off with the first two baskets of the game which galvanized the team. Moore finished with 19 points (8/11) and also grabbed four rebounds. Also, defensively she had three steals and one blocked shot.
Tricia Liston finished with 17 points as she went 5/9 from the three-point line and also grabbed four rebounds. She hit threes at clutch moments during the game, which gave the Lynx energy they were looking for.
Damiris Dantas was a huge inside presence for the Lynx, she scored 15 points and accounted for 5 rebounds. Her game tonight looked as though she will be a key post presence this upcoming season.
New York Liberty:
Rebecca Allen finished in double figures with 10 points. The 6'2" Allen showed great skills and versatility.