Minnesota Lynx coach Jen Gillom knows her team isn't going to have a record-setting offensive performance every night. She knows the Lynx aren't always going to make 16 3-pointers. And Minnesota needs to handle late-game situations a little better.
But after six consecutive losses, the Minnesota coach wasn't in position to quibble about any sort of victory. And even though Friday night's 100-95 win over Sacramento featured several anxious moments at the end, it was a victory.
"I'm just grateful for a win, to be honest," Gillom said.
It was a crucial one for the Lynx (12-16) as they move a game ahead of San Antonio in the race for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
Getting that lead, however, required the Lynx putting together the best long-range shooting performance in WNBA history. The 16 3-pointers set an all-time WNBA record for 3-pointers in a regulation game and equaled the total Connecticut recorded in a double overtime game in 2007. Minnesota, which shot 52.4 percent from the floor and 57.1 on 3-pointers, also set a WNBA record for most points in a first half with 64.
Roneeka Hodges (17 points) made 5 3-pointers for the Lynx while Kelly Miller (18 points) added 4 3-pointers for Minnesota. Miller's play was especially key as the veteran entered the game averaging only 4 points and had 1 3-pointer combined over the previous five games.
"I was kind of on tonight," Miller said. "For us, this was a must-win game. It was really important for us to get back on the winning track."
Most of Minnesota's 3-pointers came within its normal offense or off penetration into the lane.
"We take those same shots every single game and just today they were going in so it looked great," Lynx guard Renee Montgomery said. "We take the same amount of threes every game and you have to keep shooting them."
With shots dropping from the outside, center Nicky Anoskie scored 17 points. The Lynx had six players reach double figures.
"These girls love points, it's not about defense," Gillom said. "We have to outscore people."
And they needed almost every one of those points against a Monarchs team that didn't give up.
Sacramento (9-20) trailed by 11 with 2:52 to play, Sacramento went on a 10-2 run and was within three 98-95 when Hamchetou Maiga-Ba (20 points) hit a 15-footer with 12.3 seconds to play. Hodges, however, made a pair of free throws with 10.2 seconds to play to secure the victory.
After seeing double-digit leads vanish in recent losses at Connecticut and New York, the Lynx players were happy to have closed out this game, even if much of their lead vanished.
"We did just enough to win the game," Gillom said.
A fast start put Minnesota _ which made 10 of its first 13 3-pointers _ in that position. The Lynx set the WNBA record for points in a first half by shooting 69.7 percent from the floor and 75 percent from behind the 3-point line.
"They couldn't miss a shot in the first half, said Monarchs coach John Whisenant, whose team fell 3 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot with only five games remaining. "It was hard for me to tell if it was us defensively ... but they were hotter than a firecracker. When you get a team shooting like that, it's really hard."
Before the game, Sacramento signed guard Lisa Willis to a seven-day contract. Willis previously played for Los Angeles and New York and has averaged 4.6 points over three WNBA seasons.