Minneapolis, MN -- The Minnesota Lynx punched their ticket to the playoffs by beating the San Antonio Stars in a close match-up. But while it was a close game, there was something else that stood out almost like a sore thumb: the dangerous combo that is becoming of Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles.
Despite a shaky start for Maya Moore, her entire demeanor changed in the second half where she scored 24 points. Her newest teammate, Sylvia Fowles, dominated the whole game from blocking shots to putting the ball in the basket as she finished with 16 points.
Moore scored the first basket of the game with a lay-up and from there on she seemed to not be able to get her touch back. Even though the Stars are at the bottom of the Western conference, they came out as if they were the top team.
Kayla McBride was on fire the entire first half and the Lynx could not keep up with her or anyone else on their team. San Antonio seemed to score off every possession, but on one possession, Fowles clearly had enough as she threw one of the Stars player's shots nearly into the crowd. San Antonio led by four going into the second quarter.
Carrying over to the second quarter, the Lynx still could not find their rhythm; offensively they were not clicking and could not get a stop on defense. They just made silly mistakes; Rebekkah Brunson fouled Danielle Adams on the three-point line, and they continued to turn the ball over. They committed all their seven first-half turnovers in the second quarter.
After a frustration timeout from head coach Cheryl Reeve, Minnesota started to find their chemistry again. They scored right after the time-out and forced a turnover on defense, cutting the lead to six. Moore's shooting was still off as she missed a few mid-range jumpers, but she grabbed five rebounds going into half-time and scored eight points. Fowles had nine points going into halftime, and the Lynx were still down 46-35.
In the second half, Minnesota looked like the dominant team most of us are familiar with. Especially the two veterans, Fowles and Moore, who took over in the second half. Fowles scored the Lynx's first basket of the second half and her 11th point of the game.
San Antonio looked very undisciplined on defense which allowed Minnesota to trickle their way back into the game. The Lynx cut the lead to under double digits again at about the eight-minute mark.
Fowles was really feeling it this second half; she hit a nice short jumper that we do not see often. She had 14 points going into the fourth quarter, and her dominance definitely brought her team back to life. Once Moore hit her first three of the second half, it was go time for her.
She came alive this second half, scoring 12 points in the third quarter.The Lynx turned it around in the third quarter as they controlled the lead going into the fourth quarter, 65-59.
Tricia Liston hit a long three to start off the fourth quarter; McBride continued to stay quiet coming off of 15 points in the first half. Minnesota continued to control the tempo of the game ticking off to the final seconds of the game. Although the Stars lost the game, they did not let the Lynx win this game easily.
McBride started to get hot again but it was a little too late, she hit a three with 23 seconds left to play but in order to get the ball back they had to foul. They fouled an 84% free-throw shooter (Moore) who scored her 30th point of the game at the line. Minnesota won a nail-biter, 83-76, Moore finished with 32 points, and nine rebounds and Fowles finished with 16 points and four rebounds.
But the larger looming message besides the win: Moore and Fowles seem to be clicking, and that could be tough for any team to overcome once the playoffs starts.
"We have high expectations and we are not satisfied we are going to continue to play well and move forward as a team", Moore stated in regards to making it to the playoffs again.