The Minnesota Lynx did something Tuesday night that they usually accomplish in the first week of the season- winning back-to-back games.
Taking cues from Saturday night’s victory over New York, the Lynx came out of the gates strong. They played with energy and effort, breaking open the game with a 20-6 stretch over the first six minutes of the first quarter. Minnesota flummoxed Dallas early in this game. They were excellent offensively and defensively, forcing turnovers on one end, and shooting 61% on the other in the opening frame.
As is the case in most WNBA games, the marquee matchup took place in the post. Sylvia Fowles and Wings center Liz Cambage went to war for the second time this season and once again did not disappoint. Cambage was sublime in the first quarter scoring 12 points, but had a quiet scoring night the rest of the way. She finished with 16, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. Fowles had 19 points, 17 rebounds, five steals (career high), and a block.
Winging It Away
The Wings had 22 turnovers in this game and were never able to get any sort of flow going on offense. Half of their turnovers were self-inflicted mistakes, while the other half were forced by a unified Lynx defense. Minnesota set a season-high mark for steals Tuesday night with nine. Dallas had a tough time entering the ball into the post, seemingly forcing it at times. The advantage was especially stark in the first half as Minnesota used 12 Wings turnovers to get a whopping 20 more field goal attempts. Maya Moore talked post game about the Lynx defense and creating turnovers.
“We work hard to make it uncomfortable for teams. When it goes our way we celebrate it. We work hard to create momentum by being pesky on defense. Syl alone had five steals. We’re getting back to our identity. This is who we want to be, a really hard team to play against where nothing is easy.”
Finish The Fourth
After a Fowles free throw put the Lynx up 21 with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the game appeared to be effectively over. Instead, the Lynx let go of the rope and allowed Dallas to steadily climb back in to the game, getting within six points before Minnesota closed the door for good.
“It was an interesting second half, especially the fourth quarter,” said Cheryl Reeve after the game.
“Unfortunate because I thought we played some really good basketball for, certainly the first half. Third quarter was pretty good as well and then fourth quarter we just didn’t look very good…We had ten turnovers in the second half after having just three (in the first half).”
In addition to the late-game turnovers, the Lynx shot 1-11 from the field in the fourth quarter. They missed a number of make-able shots including a handful in the paint that could have made this win more comfortable. They were aggressively driving to the basket and shot 13-14 from the free throw line which saved the game as their offense dried up. Sometimes winning isn’t pretty.
At 5-6 the Lynx are clawing their way back to .500. They’ve taken care of business at home against a couple of non-contending teams. Now they’ll have to hit the road and try to keep the streak alive against Phoenix and Las Vegas.
With this win Cheryl Reeve becomes the seventh WNBA coach to reach 200 wins. Her 70.8 win percentage (200-83) is the best of anyone in that group.
Tyus Jones and father of Andrew Wiggins, Mitchell Wiggins were in attendance for Tuesday’s game.
The Lynx had 23 assists on 29 made baskets. That’s a great number.
Lynetta Kizer subbed in for Fowles who had picked up her second foul late in the first quarter. Cambage then proceeded to score six straight points on Kizer. That 1:19 were the only minutes she played in the game. Kizer does not have much latitude with Reeve at this point.
Seimone Augustus was fantastic shooting the ball after missing Saturday’s game with hamstring injury. She had 16 points on 6-9 from the field.
Minnesota begins a two game road trip in Phoenix on Friday night. The Mercury currently own the league’s best record. The game tips at 9 pm CT. You can watch on WNBA League Pass or listen at BOB 106 FM.