Five Lynx players finished in double digits in a highly sought 81-65 win over the Fever, and two of those players also notched double-doubles. Sylvia Fowles led the team with 18 points and 14 rebounds, followed by Rebekkah Brunson with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
"I feel good about it," Brunson said of her stats following the game, "but mostly I feel good about the win. We only have a few games left in the regular season, and we're hoping to [keep this] momentum going."
"It was really rewarding for the team," said head coach Cheryl Reeve. "This is how we practiced all week--what you saw [...] Our defense was terrific; our team concepts were terrific. Jim Pete[rson] did a good job of preparing us."
Friday night's win increased Minnesota's win streak to nine over Indiana, dating back to June 2011. With both the Lynx and the Fever having clinched WNBA Playoff spots earlier in the season, the game maybe didn't hold the same level of pressure, but Minny still needed a win. August was a rough run for the Lynx, and a second consecutive home win will prove big for the squad's confidence. Maya Moore said the following after the game:
"Experiencing not playing to our potential was good for us as far as learning and remembering all those little things that make teams great [...] It's a good lesson to learn now rather than at the end of the season. I feel like whatever happens now, from this point on, I'm not going to have any regrets because of how we're responding currently."
The first quarter was nothing if it wasn't fast-paced. Fowles got things going with a quick three buckets for Minnesota. By three minutes into the game, Fowles was 3-of-5 with an equal number of rebounds.
Sylvia Fowles lookin' Dreamy! Three huge paint scores from 34 in MN's first three possessions. #Lynx lead 7-2 early.— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) September 5, 2015
It's never long before All-Star Moore gets involved, and she did so with back-to-back three-point point baskets to give Minnesota an early 13-7 lead.
Both teams ran the ball at a frazzled pace, and the Lynx started having trouble controlling the ball. In the first quarter alone, the team committed seven turnovers in sloppy play. Fortunately for them, however, the Lynx's shooting did not suffer even with the errors. Minnesota wrapped up the quarter with a three-point buzzer beater from Renee Montgomery, taking a 22-20 lead.
Indiana held its own against Minnesota's sharp shooting through the first quarter and better half of the second, but soon the Lynx began to pull away. A driving layup by Anna Cruz at the 6:06 mark sparked a 6-0 run for the Lynx, and they never looked back.
Moore suffered an injury in the third quarter, getting an inadvertent Fowles elbow to the nose. Concern rippled through the arena, but she did offer the Target Center crowd a "thumbs up" as she walked to the bench. Trainers took Moore to the locker room, and she didn't play the remainder of the game.
Even without Moore, Lindsay Whalen or Seimone Augustus on the floor, the Lynx continued to dominate offensively and gradually extended their lead throughout the third and fourth quarter.
Minnesota's scoring certainly drew the spotlight, but its defensive game proved effective as well. Specifically, guards Anna Cruz and Renee Montgomery played well together on both sides of the floor.
"I was really happy. The tandem of Brunson and Syl[via] were so good, and then the tandem of Renee and Anna as well," Reeve said. "They were both just really good together--playing off each other depending on the matchups [...]. Defensively, they continue to understand the impact they're having."
The Lynx held Indiana to just 28 points in the paint for the evening while scoring 40 paint points themselves. And despite finishing the game with a disappointing 17 turnovers, Minnesota actually scored more points off Indiana's 11 turnovers.
Friday's win brings the Lynx's record to 21-10 and one win closer to a Western Conference title. On Sunday, Minnesota will host New York with home court advantage on the line. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CST.