Despite an energetic first half, the Lynx watched a more congruent Washington squad roll out with a 79-61 win at home Wednesday night. Sylvia Fowles led the Lynx with 13 points, followed by Rebekkah Brunson with 12 points and 11 rebounds. On the other end, Mystics guard Kara Lawson led all scoring with 20 points.
Heading into the game, fans expected a close contest. Washington came into the Target Center holding only two more losses than Minnesota and fresh off a 77-69 win over the Lynx Sunday evening. Expectations were met during the first half as the squads battled it out, but things got ugly after halftime.
Something was just missing for the Lynx.
"Frustration set in for this team," said head coach Cheryl Reeve following the game. "It's hard to play when you're frustrated; it just compounds things."
After losing the lead early in the second quarter, Minnesota just couldn't find its groove. The Mystics went on a 10-2 run to widen the deficit, and the Lynx couldn't get their shots to fall. Seimone Augustus, in just her third game back from injury, notched two baskets late in the quarter to provide a little bit of a momentum swing, and Brunson created a slick and-1 play with just .5 seconds remaining in the half.
Entering the third quarter down 36-34, things looked like they could improve for Minnesota. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The Lynx finished the quarter with only 12 points and committed four turnovers, bringing the total errors to 13.
Before Minny knew it, Washington took over control of the game. A previously enthusiastic Target Center crowd sat stunned as the Lynx quickly lost any hope of regaining the lead. The Mystics scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and finished the game shooting 44.6 percent in comparison to Minnesota's 34.4 percent.
"[Washington] went on a great run," Reeve said. "And the bottom fell out for us."
"We didn't put the ball in the hole to compete with a team that was hitting [its] shots," added forward Maya Moore.
In a fashion we are unaccustomed to seeing, forward Moore was the only starter to not score in the first quarter. She finished the game with 10 points, shooting just 20 percent from the field and grabbing only five rebounds. Moore said the following after the game:
"There are some things we're going to have to work through on the offensive end to be more efficient and to spend more time on offense instead of shooting super early in the shot clock sometimes--making sure we get a quality shot. Just taking care of the ball--[we had] some untimely turnovers, and we need to continue to protect our paint a little bit better. We know what we need to do."
"This is a process," Reeve said. "We're on a journey right now. We have not peaked, and we're going to keep working really, really hard to become a good basketball team."
The loss dropped Minnesota's record to 18-8 overall. Entering Wednesday's game, the Lynx needed two wins to clinch homecourt advantage for the WNBA Playoffs. Their next game is Friday, when they will hit the road and take on San Antonio. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CST.
The Numbers Game
- Minnesota committed 15 turnovers on the evening.
- Rebekkah Brunson executed three and-1 plays and shot 50 percent from the field.
- Both head coaches received technical fouls in the second quarter.
- Sylvia Fowles was the only player to notch a double-double.
- The Lynx shot only 16.7 percent (1-of-6) from behind the three-point line.
Maya Moore: Western Conference Player of the Month. Prior to the game, Moore received a trophy for being named Western Conference Player of the Month for July. The forward ranked No. 1 among Western Conference players in scoring and was tied for No. 1 in rebounding.
Prowl's Birthday. Wednesday night was "Prowl's Birthday Game," and the evening featured plenty of family-friendly events including a meet and greet with other Minnesota mascots in the Lynx Party Zone prior to tipoff. The mascots provided in-game fun as well.