SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Another season, another great start by Minnesota Lynx.
Seimone Augustus had a season-high 25 points and Minnesota remained unbeaten, holding off the San Antonio Stars 87-79 on Sunday.
The Lynx (7-0) set a WNBA record by winning their first 10 games in 2012 and opened last season 9-2 on their way to a second league championship in three years.
Minnesota led by 13 points midway through the fourth Sunday but had to fend off a late defensive push by San Antonio to remain unbeaten.
“That’s the poise of this team,” Augustus said. “Just having the confidence to come in and know that we can make big plays down the stretch, mostly on the defensive end. Just trying to get the stop and get a rebound.”
Maya Moore had 18 points, Tan White added 17 and Lindsay Whalen had 11 points and 10 rebounds to help the Lynx sweep the home-and-home series with the Stars (3-4).
Minnesota knew the rematch would not be easy after using a 33-point third quarter Friday to coast to an 88-72 victory against San Antonio.
“It was exactly the kind of game we thought it would be,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We knew they have a veteran group, a great coach. (They were going to make) adjustments, we had to be ready for some stuff. Neither team handled things very well in the first half, defensively.”
San Antonio was able to spread the floor offensively, collecting 24 assists on its 29 field goals.
Jia Perkins scored 16 points, Becky Hammon added 15 points, Jayne Appel 11 and Danielle Robinson had 11 assists as the Stars suffered their first home loss.
Reeve earned her 100th career victory, but was more interested in praising her team’s poise in the face of a 14-4 run by the Stars late in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota missed four shots and committed four turnovers after Augustus’ 17-foot jumper gave them a 78-65 lead with 6:18 remaining.
“I told our group that I appreciated when San Antonio was playing great defense and getting stops, we had the mindset, I could see us turning and looking and looking at each other going, ‘It’s OK,” Reeve said. “Let’s get it back right here,”
Appel’s layup pulled San Antonio to 82-79 with a minute remaining, but White followed with an alley-oop layup 16 seconds later on Augustus’ assist to regain a five-point lead.
“They just have so many weapons,” Appel said. “They are a force from everywhere. It is going to take having all five defenders on the same page moving around and helping each other out to beat them. They can score from any position.”
White gave Minnesota a 75-65 lead midway through the fourth, beaming after making her third 3 despite falling to the court. The basket led to a San Antonio timeout, screams of “Tan!” from teammates and a celebratory shoulder bump from Reeve.
“Oh my god,” Augustus said. “I didn’t know she was going to shoot it. I think everybody was kind of surprised that she just kind of pulled up with (Kayla) McBride right in her face. She just felt it today, I think she likes playing against San Antonio, might have to play them a few more times.”
Both head coaches had angry exchanges with official Tiffany Bird earlier over calls as the game grew more physical. Appel was issued a technical foul with 21.7 left in the first half after arguing she did not push Devereaux Peters for a defensive rebound. Appel was angrier that no call was made on the previous possession when she and Peters got tangled up.
“Playing a team twice definitely puts a lot of passion in the game and a lot of battling back and forth,” Appel said. “Emotions run high.”
Hammon hit three 3s in the opening quarter, but missed her only attempt in the final three quarters.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.