The Minnesota Lynx season may be over, but Canis Hoopus’ coverage of them isn’t! I’m excited to bring back the Lynx Signature Series for a second spin!
The Lynx Signature Series
- Who this is for: Long-time Lynx fans. Aspiring Lynx fans. Anyone who’s a fan of the game of hoops and baskets.
- What this is: A highlight reel of Top 10’s (#SCTop10) from this year’s Minnesota Lynx squad. I’ve determined these rankings as the committee of one.
- Why did you do this: As mentioned above, one barrier for me in getting more invested in watching the W was unfamiliarity of players. Hopefully you will use this to help you build your familiarity with the team as I detail some of our best moments!
Today, we’re bringing you the top 10 single game performances of the season!
Banham Is Perfect
13 points (5/5 FG; 3/3 3P) 2 assists, 1 steal, 15 minutes - 13.1 Game Score (6/6 vs. ATL)
With an influx in wing talent, it was likely that Rachel Banham’s role would be minimized this season. Despite her limited playing time, there were still games like this where Ray Ban would show off her silky smooth jump shot. Her perfect performance from the field helped the Lynx defeat the Dream 100-80 and earn a 3-game win streak.
Dantas Drowns Dream from Deep
23 points (6/11 3P), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal - 15.6 Game Score (6/23 vs. ATL)
I have a hard time believing the Lynx wouldn’t have greatly benefitted from the Brazilian Bomber during their single-game elimination match against the Chicago Sky. Prior to having her season cut short due to a foot injury, Damiris Dantas showcased her brilliant perimeter shooting with a career-high 6 treys, helping Minnesota’s 87-85 come from behind victory. Here’s to a speed recovery, DD!
Fowles Dominates in 20 Minutes
13 points (6/8 FG), 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 5 blocks in 20 minutes - 19.5 Game Score (9/10 vs. IND)
Imagine playing just 1 minute in the 4th quarter and still putting up this type of box score numbers that Sylvia Fowles did. Sure, it was against the hapless Indiana Fever, but Syl looked like she was playing against high school competition. The 9 stocks in 20 minutes included a franchise-tying 4 blocks in the 1st half. That’s our DPOY!
️D ️P ️O ️Y ️— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) September 11, 2021
You ain't got no alibi pic.twitter.com/WGlNaKPP6T
#10: Intro Day for Lay
12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal in 27 minutes - 7.8 Game Score (5/30 vs. CON)
Layshia Clarendon’s first game in a Lynx jersey was one for the books. To set the stage, less than 24 hours prior to the tip against the Connecticut Sun, he just signed a hardship contract with Minnesota who was struggling with injuries, holding an 0-4 record. Although the 7.8 game score may not jump off the screen at you, it was clear from game 1 that Lay was the real deal as he helped guide the Lynx to their first victory in overtime. Most notably, there was one play of his that was nearly an all-time great.
THAT CLOSE.— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) May 31, 2021
time for some free basketball. pic.twitter.com/71muHzkUDS
#9: Collier Flexes on the Sparks
27 points (11/17 FG), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals in 36 minutes - 21.6 Game Score (7/11 vs. LAS)
Did I feel extra inclined to add this performance because I witnessed it live? Maybe. Regardless, that doesn’t take away the absolutely amazing display that Napheesa Collier put on against their long-time rival Los Angeles Sparks. She routinely bullied all LA defenders in the paint, leaving no doubt that she was the best player on the floor. My favorite play of the game was when Phee went back-to-the-basket and bulldozed Karlie Lou Samuelson over before putting in an easy 2, forcing Derek Fisher to call a timeout. As the Lynx ran out to greet Collier at halfcourt, she flexed and said “I’m strong!!!”
#8: Phee Deals Aces in a Career Night
23 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks in 44 minutes - 22.6 Game Score (6/25 vs. LVA)
In perhaps the Lynx marquee win of the season, Napheesa Collier did it all. Not only did she put up another massive double-double with her typical defensive counting stats, Phee also poured in career-highs of 8 assists and 44 minutes. There’s nothing this young superstar can’t do.
#7: Clarendon Beats Vegas with a Missed Field Goal
20 points (10/15 FG), 2 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal in 37 minutes - 14.4 Game Score (6/25 vs. LVA)
In the same game as above, Minnesota’s new starting point guard, Layshia Clarendon, was in rare form. When your lead ball handler shoots .667 percent from the field and dishes out 7 assists, you’ve got something special. He saved his best moments of the game in overtime though, delivering a perfectly timed dime to Fowles for the go-ahead bucket with about 1 minute remaining. With 27 seconds left and still up 1 with the ball, Lay bled the clock all the way down to about 4 seconds before launching a high arching 3-point shot. The result was exactly what the Lynx wanted: A long carom that ended up in Fowles’ hands with just a couple ticks left as the game clock harmlessly expired. That’s right! A game-winning missed field goal. This won’t be the last time you see this game pop up on the list.
#6: AP’s Revenge Locks in 3 Seed
27 points (10/20 FG; 2/5 3P; 5/5 FT), 2 rebounds, 2 assists - 14.8 Game Score (9/19 vs. WAS)
In the final regular season game (and win) for Minnesota, Aerial Powers delivered her best game of the season. AP sliced and diced up the Washington Mystics all night, who were fighting for their playoff lives. Her game-high 27 points would mark her second “revenge game” after having previously dropping 20 points against her former team just a couple weeks prior. Although her final 14.8 game score doesn’t seem impressive, the Lynx dub effectively locked them in for the #3 seed going into the playoffs.
#5: KMac Gets Buckets and More
25 points (9/13 FG), 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 0 turnovers in 37 minutes - 24.1 Game Score (7/7 vs. DAL)
Numbers can be so fun sometimes. For example, did you know that Kayla McBride went on a 3-game spree where she made exactly 9 of 13 field goals, netting 20+ points each time? This amazing stretch ended up being the one that really changed things for McBuckets as she shared in a postgame presser. Not only was she on fire from the field, but she demonstrated in this game that she could do more than just shoot. In fact, McBride knocked down 3 game-sealing free throws to put this one away. The ironwoman played in all 32 games for the Lynx season and proved that she’s an all-around star.
#4: Napheesa Wakes Up from Dream
26 points (7/12 FG), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals in 38 minutes - 24.7 Game Score (6/4 vs. ATL)
After struggling in her first 2 games in a Lynx uniform this year (Granted she went straight from the airport to the hardwood after her successful overseas campaign in France) with two 4 for 12 outings, Napheesa Collier finally awoke from her stir. Not only would Phee post an impressive 26 point performance, just 1 short of her career-high, she would also draw the game-winning foul in the final seconds of the game. 2 free throws? Cash, game, set, and match.
#3: Megatron Smashes Atlanta
26 points (11/16 FG), 19 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 5 blocks in 38 minutes - 29.3 Game Score (6/23 vs. ATL)
Sylvia Fowles was officially dubbed “Megatron” by Coach Cheryl Reeve in the postgame press conference, comparing her catch radius to former NFL star, Calvin Johnson. I mean if you play fantasy WNBA, the numbers that Fowles has put up all season warrants that comparison for sure. The 35-year-old DPOY tied her season-high of 5 blocks, but as if that wasn’t enough, Syl would finish off Atlanta by putting on a defensive clinic against the entire Dream team. If you want to re-live that moment, check out my amateur breakdown here.
#2: Big Syl is Feared and Loathed in Las Vegas
30 points (12/20 FG), 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 4 blocks in 40 minutes - 29.6 Game Score (6/25 vs. LVA)
I told you this game would be back again! Although both Phee and Layshia had excellent games, as the theme all season long, Sylvia Fowles outshined them all. Tasked with handling both A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage in the frontcourt, Syl helped hold them to a combined 14 of 37 night from the field while getting her own. Sure the 30/14 is impressive, but 4 assists, steals, and blocks? All that there’s left to say about Syl is:
#1: GOAT Status
29 points (10/17 FG; 9/9 FT), 20 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals, 3 blocks, 0 turnovers, 0 personal fouls in 36 minutes - 35.1 Game Score (8/24 vs. SEA)
I mean come on, you probably couldn’t even achieve this stat line on NBA2K. Posting this historic stat line all while breaking a 7-game losing streak to the reigning champions? Sylvia Fowles is our GOAT.
On our next edition of the Lynx Signature Series, we take a look at the 10 best defensive plays of the season!