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Lynx 74, Sun 71: Road Warriors

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Minnesota’s 8-6 record is good for fourth in the WNBA standings.

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Things can change very quickly in the WNBA. Just three weeks ago the Connecticut Sun dispatched the Minnesota Lynx in Minneapolis, sending them to 9-1, the best record in the league. Since then, the Sun have dropped four in a row, including Saturday’s loss to the Lynx in Uncasville. The consistent, two-way cohesion seen in the Sun’s first ten games is now nowhere to be found.

“They’re frustrated, because I think they’re talented enough to not go through this type of stretch,” Sun coach Curt Miller said. “We’ve been 21-13 two years in a row, but each one of those 21-13 seasons, we’ve gone through a rough patch.”

The Sun and Lynx played a tightly-contested game Saturday afternoon. There were 14 lead changes, five ties and neither team built a double-digit lead at any point. Sylvia Fowles had a nice game particularly in the first half where she succeeded at getting deep post position and scoring in the restricted area.

Connecticut’s offense had an inconsistent game, especially in the half court. Primarily the Sun generated points by grabbing offensive rebounds and earning second chance points. Connecticut had 21 points on 14 offensive rebounds in the game, 17 of those points came in the first half as they turned hitting the “O-glass” into an entire team effort. Another way the Sun hung around in this game despite their offensive ineptitude was by forcing live-ball turnovers. Alyssa Thomas was (as usual) a terror on defensive, ripping Lynx ball handlers and running the other way for two points. Bria Holmes came in off the bench to give the Sun a nice eight point boost in the second quarter sending Connecticut into halftime only trailing by one point.

Odyssey Sims was yet again wonderful on the offensive end. She had a great night in both halves but really put the team on her back after halftime as the Sun focused more energy into taking Fowles out of the equation. Sims scored ten of her game-high 21 in the second half by knifing into the paint for her signature lefty floater. She also added eight assists and is now the third Lynx player in franchise history to have 8+ in three straight games. After some bad misses and rough outings early on, Sims looks like the player Minnesota hoped they were getting when they traded for her.

Minnesota closed this game strong by winning the rebounding and possession battle. The Sun turned the ball over six times in the final frame and the Lynx were able to outscore them 20-13. Winning close games and holding onto late leads has been something the Lynx have struggled with this season. Lexie Brown hit a three to put Minnesota up 62-60 with 7:19 remaining and despite the game remaining tight for the final minutes, the Lynx would not relinquish the lead, or the win.

Notes

Naphesa Collier returned to Connecticut for the first time since she was drafted out of UConn. She had a nice all around game with ten points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Danielle Robinson’s re-engineered shot (and attitude towards taking long jump shots) continues to impress. She hit yet another three pointer in this game and more importantly does not hesitate to fire when the ball is swung to her in the corner.

Brown made multiple threes for the first time since June 12th. She had scored five or fewer points in her last four games.

Shao Ting was the first player off the bench for Cheryl Reeve in the first quarter. She played just over five minutes and did not see the floor for the rest of the game.

After a career night on Tuesday Stephanie Talbot went 0-5 from three and scored zero points in this game.

Jonquel Jones statically had her worst night of the season. Only five points on 2-10 shooting in 29 minutes. She did notch four blocks but her presence was not felt on the offensive end.

Next Up

The Lynx will have three days off before they face off in Chicago against the Sky. Tip off for the Wednesday July 10th game is at 8pm CT.

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