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Lynx 87, Fever 80: What Can Brown Do for You?

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Lexie Brown’s game is coming alive as she leads the Lynx past the Fever to move to 5-1.

Indiana Fever v Minnesota Lynx Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

After yet another slow start, the Lynx righted the ship in the second quarter, and led throughout the second half before putting away the Indiana Fever 87-80. The win pushes the Lynx to 5-1 on the season, making them one of the biggest surprises in the WNBA so far.

Early in the game, the Lynx were allowing the Fever to convert around the rim with far too much ease, both off basket cuts and several early offensive rebounds. Offensively, they didn’t appear to know where they wanted to go. It resulted in an 11 point lead for the Fever midway through the first quarter. The Lynx closed the gap late in the quarter behind Lexie Brown, on whom more later.

The Lynx clamped down defensively in the second quarter, holding the Fever to 11 points, and took a seven point lead into halftime. Although the Fever made a quick run to open the third quarter, they never managed to push in front, and the Lynx took back control and maintained their advantage the rest of the way.

They really cleaned up their turnover problems, finishing with only 13 after committing several early, and took control of the glass. They also finished with 11 steals, which led to multiple easy baskets. The Lynx play at the slowest pace in the league thus far, which is indicative of both their excellent defense and their offensive struggles. Any easy ones they can get are welcome.

The story the last couple of games has been the improved production from the back court. Against the Liberty on Wednesday, Bridget Carleton was the big story, pouring in 25 points to go along with seven boards. She overshadowed Lexie Brown’s stat stuffing performance when she fell one assist short of a quad nickel.

Tonight, Brown was the star. finishing with 26 points, nine assists, six boards, and four steals. SHe was a force throughout, making 3-6 threes and showing an impressive ability to get to and score around the rim. She also sealed the win late with a driving lay-up to stretch the Lynx lead to six with 40 seconds left, then came up with a steal on the ensuing Fever possession to put the game away.

Brown, Crystal Dangerfield, and Carleton combined for 44 points tonight, which takes a ton of pressure off of Sylvia Fowles and Napheesa Collier. The front court stars are able to play with a little more space after the guards started making the Fever pay for their double-teams, and as a result Fowles finished with 21 on 8-14 from the field.

The 5-1 start has been largely driven by the top defensive rating in the WNBA, but also due to what has been a relatively soft schedule to start the season off. The upcoming week should be a terrific test for the Lynx, with the Sparks, Mystics and Aces next on the schedule.

NOTES

  • The Lynx managed to frustrate Kelsey Mitchell into 6-18 shooting and 15 points.
  • Odyssey Sims is back with the team and will likely be available by this time next week.
  • The Lynx shot 50/50/80, and when they shoot like that they are going to be hard to beat.
  • Next up are the Sparks on Sunday. Not sure I can handle watching Seimone Augustus play in a Sparks uniform against the Lynx.