The Minnesota Lynx and Indiana Fever are two teams in two very different situations. With a week left in the WNBA season, the Fever have locked up the second best lottery odds in the 2018 draft, while the Lynx are tuning up for yet another title run. Despite the gap between these teams, Indiana gave the Lynx all they could handle Wednesday night at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.
The Fever started the game on fire. They made ten of their first eleven shot attempts. Most of them coming in the form of midrange jumpers. Long two’s are statistically some of the worst shots in basketball. A good defense like Minnesota’s will live with their opponent getting those looks. The Lynx were patient, continued to defend the paint and eventually the law of averages came back around to bite Indiana. The Fever followed up that hot opening run with a stretch in which they only made 3 of 19 shots.
Outscoring Indiana’s bench 34-20, the Lynx reserves helped them win this game. Just a week ago the team was down to nine available players including two rookies. Now after the return of Rebekkah Brunson and the signing of Italian star Cecilia Zandalasini, Minnesota is back to having eleven available bodies and one more (Whalen) returning for the playoffs in two weeks. Jia Perkins, Natasha Howard and Alexis Jones have played extremely well as of late. The team needs the recently play of Perkins and Howard to carry over into the postseason. Jones factors less into the Lynx playoff roster, but her performance on Wednesday is a welcome sign that she’ll be a WNBA rotation player someday.
The game was well played by both teams and the score was kept close for most of the evening. Indiana had another nice shooting quarter in the third as both team’s seemed to trade runs of scoring. The longer the Fever were able to hang around, the more the game started to feel like the August 8th matchup between these teams where the Fever handed the Lynx their third loss of the season. A repeat of that upset would not occur in this game. Minnesota finally put the game out of reach with a 16-2 run in the middle of the fourth quarter.
The bottom-dwelling Indiana Fever giving the Lynx a great game is another testament to the quality of every team in the league. Minnesota got the win they needed and now looks their final two games this weekend in their quest of securing home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
-Cecilia Zandalasini played 6 minutes in her WNBA game debut. It’s hard to gather much info from those minutes but my expert opinion is that she looks like she knows how to play the game of basketball. Also she had to guard Candice Dupree. Welcome to the league kid!
-Nice bounce back night from Maya Moore after her disastrous game in LA. She scored 18 points and had three dimes in 27 minutes of action.
-Things are starting to click for Alexis Jones. The game seems to be slowing down for her a bit. Next season will be huge for her.
Minnesota returns home to face the Chicago Sky. Bad news: they’ll be playing for their playoff lives! The game tips at 7pm CT and you can watch it on Fox Sports North.