TULSA, Okla. (AP)—A fast start on Saturday night ensured that what had been a good week for the Minnesota Lynx would only get better.
“This was our fourth game in a week and I wanted to make sure we ended the week with an exclamation point,” Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Tonight wasn’t perfect, but I am very happy with our effort and getting the win.”
Minnesota (11-3) grabbed control of the contest early, using a 17-2 first-quarter run to grab a quick 24-9 edge. The Lynx hit 10 of their first 14 shots to grab the momentum, while Tulsa started the game 2 for 12 from the field.
“We came out just as I hoped. We played well all week and continued that tonight,” Reeve said. “I liked our energy. I liked our leadership from Maya and Lindsay and our entire team fed off them tonight.”
Whalen logged 11 of her points in the third quarter and Minnesota led by as many as 22 points in the second half. She scored seven consecutive points to give the Lynx a 64-43 lead and force a Tulsa timeout with 5:07 left in the period.
“We knew they weren’t going to go away in the second half,” Whalen said. “We knew we needed to come out after halftime and stay aggressive. We pushed the tempo tonight and when we have better tempo, we have better shots.”
Tulsa (3-13) dropped its sixth straight game, with its last five losses coming by double digits. Riquana Williams paced the Shock with 22 points, including 13 in the second quarter.
Tulsa rookie Skylar Diggins was held scoreless for the first time this season before leaving the game with 3:12 to play with an ankle injury.
“I felt like we really battled these guys, but we dug a hole in the first half and couldn’t get out,” Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “We just finished playing the top two teams in the league (Los Angeles and Minnesota). We know there are things we can build on and we know we have to keep getting better.”
Williams provided a spark for the Shock in the second quarter, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers during one stretch. After Williams hit a short jumper to pull Tulsa within 41-35 and force a Lynx timeout with 3:49 left before intermission, Minnesota finished the period on a 10-2 spurt to take a 51-37 lead into the locker room.