The Lynx have only trailed at half in two games this year, and tonight was one of them.
They were on the road against the Washington Mystics in their first back-to-back of the season. Though they had Seimone Augustus back after missing a game due to a concussion vs. Phoenix, they were without another superstar in Lindsay Whalen.
She was attending her brother's wedding back in Minneapolis and her absence led to an out of control first half and the team had 19 turnovers in the game. For the second game in a row, however, the team refocused at half time and came out strong.
Sylvia Fowles was dominant in the second half. She had 10 of her 18 points in the third quarter and her defense helped stifle the Mystics. The Lynx held them to two points in the first 8:12 seconds of the second half. It would have been tough to watch as a Washington fan as it seemed like nothing would fall despite how good the look was. They ended the quarter on a 6-2 run to pull within 13 but it was too late. Minnesota rode it out with free throws at the end to win the game 83-76 to remain undefeated.
The team is now 10-0, tying the WNBA record to start a season they set in 2012.
Augustus came out firing early and it didn't look like she missed a beat after suffering a recent head-injury. She drained a three for her first shot, and continued to sink mid-range jumpers. She had nine of the team's 20 points in the first, and ended up with 17 before the break.
Fowles was the difference this game as she had he way in the third. The Lynx won that quarter 23-8 because the Mystics had no answer for her at either end. All year the team has had this nifty play where they just throw up a rainbow pass to the center while she cuts to the hoop. It works on just about every team, except maybe Phoenix with Brittney Griner in the game. Fowles ended with 18 points, 7 rebounds and three blocks
Renee Montgomery started in place of Whalen and although she typically is a spark plug off the bench, tonight her dribbling got the Lynx in trouble early. She was tied for the lead among all players with four turnovers and she was trying to do too much at times. She settled down on offense in the second half and finished with 13 points. Though, she ended up fouling out when she accidentally poked a Mystics player in the eye when trying to direct the offense.
It left the Lynx without a true point guard for the last 3:58 of the game but it was no matter. The veterans helped close it out, specifically Maya Moore who had nine of her 15 points in the fourth quarter. It was her 27th birthday and I predicted she would score 30 before the game; she had two points at half time. I may have been wrong but she was clutch late and helped seal the game with free throws.
Augustus ended with 21 points and Rebekkah Brunson had 12 rebounds and four assists.
The team looks to set a new record for best start in league history this Tuesday where they will take on the Indiana Fever at home.
Tony's Two Cents:
Is it just me, or has there been a lot of inbound passes stolen after buckets made this year? The Lynx have stolen four or five right after scoring, leading to another easy bucket. They have given away a few as well and for something that seems elementary, WNBA teams have been making these mistakes all year. Maya scored five points in the game last night in about two seconds on one of these plays.
Here's one from tonight where Seimone scored four points real quick (first bucket isn't shown):