With almost a week off since their last game due to the postponement of Wednesday’s contest at New York due to poor air quality in Brooklyn, the Minnesota Lynx returned home for a big celebratory weekend at Target Center.
The Lynx opened a two-game weekend homestand by welcoming the Indiana Fever into Minneapolis, falling to the Fever 71-69 despite a late-game dash to try and force overtime. With the loss, Minnesota drops to 1-7 overall on the year.
Minnesota got off to a slow start in Friday’s contest, struggling offensively over the first two quarters but managed to stick with Indiana going into halftime thanks to efforts on the defensive end. The Lynx shot just 34.4 percent from the field in the opening half, but held the Fever to 38.5 percent from the field while trailing Indiana 36-34 at the break.
In the second half, Minnesota put together a strong third quarter and led by as much as six points at one point, but second-half turnovers haunted the Lynx and Indiana ended up clawing back to regain the lead late and not look back. Minnesota had a few opportunities in the final minute to tie the game or take the lead, but shots from Napheesa Collier and Kayla McBride failed to find the bottom of the net as time ultimately ran out on the Lynx.
“Defensively, we put ourselves in a position to be successful, especially at home. When you hold a team to 71 points, you have to be able to win that one,” Cheryl Reeve said after the game. “Outside of (Collier), we had a hard time getting consistent help. Identity-wise, we look like we don’t have one. We have to look at that.”
Strong Showing from Collier
Collier did all she could to push Minnesota to victory Friday night, leading the Lynx with team-high marks of 28 points and 14 rebounds over 33 minutes.
The 14 boards hauled in by Collier marked a new season-high and the second time this season she has surpassed the double-digit rebound mark and the second time she has posted a double-double in eight games.
“Phee was playing with a level of determination,” Reeve said. “She was imposing her will. We needed that. ... I thought she did a little bit of everything.”
DOUBLE-DOUBLE PHEE— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) June 10, 2023
20 PTS / 11 REB going into Q4. pic.twitter.com/efjjAOXYxL
Along with Collier, McBride finished with 11 points and five rebounds, Tiffany Mitchell added eight points and four rebounds and Jessica Shepard posted seven points, five rebounds and four assists for the Lynx.
“I was just trying to stay aggressive. Our home games are really important, so trying to force a win and trying to do my part,” Collier said postgame on her mentality during Friday’s game.
On the other side of things, Indiana was led by Kelsey Mitchell with 22 points, followed by NaLyssa Smith’s double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds and Aliyah Boston’s double-double of 10 points and 11 boards.
Celebratory Night at Target Center
The Lynx opened up a celebration weekend at Target Center by honoring the All 25 Team after Friday’s game. The All 25 Team recognized the top 25 players throughout franchise history in honor of Minnesota’s 25th anniversary season.
The Lynx held a post-game ceremony honoring those players while celebrating their accomplishments on and off the court over the last two-plus decades of Lynx basketball.
“It was really incredible,” Reeve said. “I know our team really wanted to get a ‘W’ for them. Just a bummer we couldn’t win for them. ... Nights like this, you have a moment where you go ‘holy cow.’ It was a really special night.”
Injuries Impact Lynx
After appearing on the injury report as questionable leading up to Friday’s game, Aerial Powers was held out of Friday’s contest with an ankle injury that occurred during practice earlier in the week.
Powers took the court in warmups, but Minnesota held her out of the game against Indiana in an attempt to get her back to 100 percent. In her place, Lindsay Allen and Bridget Carleton cracked into the rotation a bit more than we’ve seen the last few games, both coming off the bench as Powers has.
Powers joined Diamond Miller (ankle) and Natalie Achonwa (maternity leave) as inactive players for the Lynx on Friday.
Minnesota remains at home for a celebratory weekend and will return to the Target Center court on Sunday while hosting the Los Angeles Sparks at 6PM on Bally Sports North. The night will be followed by the jersey retirement of Sylvia Fowles, who joins Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson and Seimone Augustus in the Target Center rafters.