Lynx-Shock Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated July 12, 2013
Monica Wright made news last week when she confirmed she was engaged to Oklahoma City Thunder start Kevin Durant. That hasn't caused any distractions on the court for the Minnesota Lynx guard. Wright and the Western Conference-leading Lynx go for a season-best fourth straight victory and 14th in a row over the conference-worst Tulsa Shock on Saturday night. With the Lynx (10-3) trading top reserve Candice Wiggins to Tulsa in a three-team offseason deal, Wright has upped her game, averaging career highs of 11.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.4 steals. She's been even better in the starting lineup the last two games with second-leading scorer Seimone Augustus out with a sprained left ankle. Wright has scored 22 points each time, while totaling 12 rebounds, nine assists and six steals. "We never have to tell Moni to be aggressive. That's just her everyday life, that just what she does,'' coach Cheryl Reeve said Thursday after Minnesota opened its four-game road stretch with a 69-62 victory over Indiana. "She's not doing anything different than if she was coming off the bench. That's nice for us. We basically have six starters.'' If Augustus can't go, Wright will likely be in the first unit again as the two-time defending conference champs make their final appearance in Tulsa this season. Minnesota defeated the host Shock 83-74 on June 14, then won 88-79 nine days later with Augustus and Maya Moore both scoring 22 points, Lindsay Whalen adding 19 and nine assists and Rebekkah Brunson chipping in 11 points and 11 rebounds. "Just pick your poison with that team,'' rookie point guard Skylar Diggins said after the Lynx denied the Shock a season-best third straight victory. Minnesota's win streak against Tulsa is tied for third-longest all-time in WNBA history and the longest current active streak for one team over another. Tulsa's skid has reached a season-high five after losing 94-78 to Los Angeles on Thursday. The Shock (3-12) trailed by 12 after 10 minutes. "We're just a team that can't have any lapses against these high-level teams," said coach Gary Kloppenburg, whose team was going for a third consecutive home win. Tulsa also can't afford to keep giving up so many points. The team is among the worst in the league in scoring defense (84.4 ppg) and field goal defense at 47.7 percent. The Shock are also shooting a league-worst 38.7 percent, but they're making 40.0 percent against the Lynx. Minnesota, though, has held opponents to 36.2 percent during its winning streak after giving up a season-low 21 field goals Thursday. "(Our defensive effort has) carried us," Reeve said. However, slowing down Shock leading scorer and rebounder Glory Johnson has been a problem, as she's totaled 46 points and 17 boards against the Lynx this season. The second-year forward, though, has missed 27 of 40 field-goal tries and is scoring 10.0 points per game - 6.1 less than her season average - since the June 23 defeat. The Shock haven't dropped six straight since an 0-9 start last year. Their last win over Minnesota was 92-79 at home June 4, 2010.
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