MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Lynx haven’t lost a game in eight months, an amazing string that includes a WNBA championship and an unbeaten start in their title defense.
Given a fresh start to a new season though, Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve isn’t sure her team even knows what its current winning streak reaches. The Lynx won’t need to look back if they continue what they are doing in the present.
Maya Moore scored 19 points, shooting 5 for 7 on 3-pointers, and Minnesota kept rolling with an 84-71 victory over the Seattle Storm on Sunday.
The Lynx set a team record with their 10th straight win dating to last season, including a sweep of the WNBA finals. In starting 4-0 for just the second time in team history, Minnesota has won seven consecutive regular-season games, two off its nine-game run last season.
“Ending the season the way we did was definitely a great feeling, but I don’t know if we’re necessarily looking back at last season,” Moore said. “We’re looking at it as momentum, but we’re not looking at it as we don’t have to work hard anymore. I mean, it’s a new year. We’re trying to start new runs. We’re trying to do some new things with the same group. So, one step closer.”
Seimone Augustus, the league’s second-leading scorer entering the day at 22 points per game, added 10 points and six assists. Monica Wright added 11 points and rookie Devereaux Peters, the third-overall pick in the draft, scored 10, her first double-digit performance.
The versatile Lynx have done it every way since they last lost on Sept. 18 of last season against the San Antonio Silver Stars in the Western Conference semifinals. Sunday it was the defense leading the way. The league’s best shooting team held Seattle (0-3) to 37.9 percent shooting and created 17 turnovers.
“I told the team this is the first time this year I thought we played Lynx defense,” Reeve said “I thought that, it didn’t matter what player came in they were on point with the scouting report. We were in their cuts and I thought we made it very difficult for them to get the ball where they were trying to get it to.
“All in all, I thought we played our best game of the season so far.”
Ann Wauters finished with 13 points for Seattle, which fell to 0-3 for the first time since its inaugural season in 2000.
The series between the teams signals the changing of the guard in the league. Without standout center Lauren Jackson, the Storm haven’t been able to return to the level they were at when the two-time WNBA champs last won the title in 2010. Jackson, a three-time league MVP, was limited to just 13 games last season by injuries and has chosen to stay in her native Australia this season in preparation for this summer’s Olympics.
Longtime point guard Sue Bird is still around, but the team has changed around her dramatically. Wauters and Tina Thompson are two of five new faces this season and lead the team in scoring at 16 and 12.5 points per game, respectively. The inexperience playing together has shown for Seattle, which started the season with home and road losses to Los Angeles.
“In this locker room, everybody knows that we will get better,” Wauters said. “Each day we will progress and get to know each other better, play better together. At the end of the season, we’ll see where we are at.”
The Storm had four turnovers and shot just 3 for 16 in the first period as Minnesota followed through with another comfortable, workmanlike performance. Seattle’s lone lead came at 4-3 and the Lynx led by as many as 19 in the first half. They led by as many as 20 in the second half and have won their four games by an average of 15.25 points.
Bird was held to just seven points on 2 for 10 shooting, but did have nine assists.
“Oh, we will get her going,” coach Brian Agler said. “She’ll be fine. We’re still a team with a lot of new pieces and still improving.”
A scary thought for the rest of the league is Minnesota seems to think it will do the same thing.
“This game was important because it was our next one,” Augustus said. “The game we play against the Mystics is going to be important because it’s the game we’re facing the next game. It’s just about mental focus and I think we’re all coming together well now.”