There are many ways to lose a basketball game. “In heartbreaking fashion” is one of those ways, and the Lynx did exactly that on Sunday evening against the Las Vegas Aces. Despite leading for 95% of game, Minnesota gave up their first lead at the two minute mark of the fourth quarter. The Aces never looked back, absolutely stunning the Lynx.
The first half was a triumph for Minnesota. They led 19-6 at one point in the first quarter, mostly fueled by Las Vegas turnovers. The Aces did not come out of the gates sharp and were careless with passes, lofting terrible lobs into their post players. By the end of the half Vegas would have 13 total turnovers. This ignited the Lynx fast break and allowed them to get into early post up action. Danielle Robinson is so dynamic in transition and did a nice job setting her teammates up while also finding good looks for herself.
Everything changed in the second half. Suddenly Minnesota’s defense was no longer disrupting Las Vegas. The league’s finest front court duo (Liz Cambage and A’ja Wilson) came alive. After combining to score only eight points (1-5 FG) in the first half, the duo broke out after halftime for 19 points (6-11 FG). Kelsey Plum scored a season high 22 points and hit five huge threes that helped keep the Las Vegas offense alive when things didn’t work out inside the paint.
Almost every quarter of this game worked the same way - Minnesota got out to a big lead, then Las Vegas would close the quarter on a run. In the third quarter Lexi Brown hit a three to put the Lynx up 56-46. The Aces then finished the frame on a 12-2 run, tying things up at the end of the quarter.
With 4:47 remaining in the game Damiris Dantas picked up a steal and a bucket to push the score to 72-64. From that point on he Aces then closed the game on a 16-3 run, winning the game and shocking the Lynx.
Dantas had a career high 22 points on 8-15 FG including 5-10 3FG. She was big in this game overall with six assists, three rebounds, a block and a steal. Her play on both ends of the floor has been a highlight of this early season.
The Cambage/Wilson tandem is going to be pretty impossible to stop once they figure everything out. As mentioned above they had a nice second half, but they structure of what they’re trying to do is there. The high low passing and one player diving as the other pops to the elbow are examples of simple ways they can effectively play off each other.
Each game in Minnesota’s current four game losing streak has been decided by six or fewer points. Who can get them a bucket when the game is on the line? Their crunch time offense continues to search for answers.
Dearica Hamby is one of the more underrated players in the WNBA. Despite only playing just under 20 minutes tonight she was a game-high plus-20 in her time on the floor. Aces coach Bill Laimbeer might have found something tonight as he deployed her at the 3 alongside Wilson and Cambage.
Minnesota, one of two teams who has already played nine games this season, has nearly a week off. They will get comfortable at home and face the New York Liberty at Target Center on Saturday. Tip off is at 7pm.
Watch: NBA TV, Fox Sports North
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