It is a problem that has plagued the San Antonio Stars all season: Inconsistent play. That same issue reared its ugly head as a poor second half kept the silver and black winless on the road and searching for answers.
Kayla McBride had 24 points, but it was not enough as the Stars fell 83-76 to the league-best Minnesota Lynx in front of 8,851 fans inside Target Center on Tuesday night.
Jia Perkins added 15 points and Sophia Young-Malcolm posted 10 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio, who remain winless on the road at 0-12 and lost in Minnesota for the 13th consecutive time.
After trailing by 11 points at halftime, Minnesota outscored San Antonio 30-13 to carry a four point lead into the fourth quarter.
“You’ve got to give Minnesota credit,” Stars head coach Dan Hughes said. “They can take their game to another level. I was talking to my team about that – they’ve got to learn a little bit about that, but they can do that. They can do that and they can say, ‘okay, now cuts are going to be stronger, now we’re going to be more physical…’ and we didn’t adjust quick enough.”
San Antonio remains a 1/2 game behind the Los Angeles Sparks for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and a 1/2 game ahead of the Seattle Storm for fifth place.
“I think there’s four teams battling for those last playoff spots, so we kind of turn the page on this game and take what we learn,” McBride said. “I think the first half showed a lot about who we actually are as a team regardless of what our wins and losses look like, but I think we just have to continue to build on that and take those things away.”
Minnesota was led by Maya Moore’s 32 points. Sylvia Fowles added 16 and Anna Cruz chipped in 10 for the Lynx (17-6), who clinched their fifth consecutive postseason berth.
Guard Lindsay Whalen had nine assists, passing the 2,000 assist mark for her career.
“We were harder to play against in the second half – the first half, we weren’t,” Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “They ran their stuff, they ran it well, they run really good stuff, they’re well-coached, they’ve got really good players – All Stars all over the place.”
The Stars are now 7-17 on the season and will return to the court on Sunday when they travel to Seattle to face Sue Bird and the Storm at 8 p.m. inside KeyArena.