Freeman Coliseum – Its been one of the major problems for the San Antonio Stars this season: Third quarters. And that problem plagued the Silver and Black once again Friday night.
Jia Perkins scored 16 points, but the Stars fell 78-61 to the Minnesota Lynx in front of 4,591 fans at Freeman Coliseum on Military Appreciation Night.
Minnesota outscored San Antonio 25-9 in the third quarter and went on a 19-0 run, capped off by a Maya Moore three-pointer to take a 56-40 lead.
“Let’s just say they outplayed us in the third quarter,” Stars head coach Dan Hughes said. “I’ll look at the film and understand if it was more them or more us.”
Despite playing a solid first half and taking a three point lead into halftime, San Antonio failed to score for the first half minutes of the third quarter, allowing Minnesota to take a 16-point lead.
“I think it was more so our defense,” Perkins said. “I think we already know we’re not a third quarter team, and they are. I think first off you’ve got to stop defensively, and we have got to get some stops. I mean obviously we can’t let our offense protect their defense.”
The Lynx were led by Maya Moore, who scored a game-high 18 points, including 10 in the third quarter. Sylvia Fowles added 16 and Anna Cruz chipped in 12 for Minnesota (19-8), who moved closer to securing the top spot in the Western Conference.
Minnesota was without Seimone Augustus, who missed the game with a foot injury. Rebekkah Brunson had nine points and 11 rebounds for the Lynx in the win.
“They understand what happened and how to fix it,” Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “That’s usually what happens to us in the third quarter, we’re able to figure that out and they’ve got that killer instinct.”
San Antonio currently sits 2 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Sparks for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The two teams have two more meetings beginning Sunday afternoon.
“We know this is a huge game,” McBride said. “So it is going to come down to leadership, and it is going to come down to who wants it more. And we have to be the better team.”
The Stars are now 7-20 on the season and will return to the court on Sunday afternoon when they welcome Candace Parker and the Sparks to Freeman Coliseum at 3:30 p.m.