It may not have been the prettiest game to watch, but Minnesota grinded out a victory over the pesky Mystics on Friday evening, 75-69.
Sylvia Fowles and Maya Moore carried the scoring torch for Minnesota, which enabled the defending WNBA Champions to secure their 23rd victory of the season. The two Olympians performed at a very high level, combining for 42 points, 23 rebounds, three assists, four steals and two blocks.
Statistically it was an uncharacteristic game for the home team, putting in only 38.1 percent of their shots and only making one 3-pointer. Fortunately for the Lynx, however, as long as you play solid defense, your team is going to have a chance to win, and that’s exactly what the first ranked team in the league did on Friday night.
Minnesota forced Washington to shoot 39.4 percent from the field, while also preventing the Mystics from getting a good look from beyond-the-arc. Washington went 3-for-21 from deep, allowing the Lynx, who struggled putting the ball in the hoop, to stay in the game and turn their defense into offense.
“I knew we shot a really low percentage, but our defense, holding a team to 69 is really good – it’s what gave us a chance to stay in that game,” Moore said. “That just goes to show, we’re not going to play perfectly. We hopefully won’t play like that again in that second half, but it’s life – sometimes it happens and you have to stay with it.”
Minnesota native Tayler Hill ended the night scoring 15 points, but it didn’t come easy. The Lynx were able to stay in front of Hill, an offensive master, for a good part of the game, forcing her to go 5-for-22 from the field. LaToya Sanders and Leilani Mitchell performed well off the bench for the Mystics, combining on the night for 23 points and seven boards.
“Obviously Washington is a handful – they’re fast,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “You guys aren’t the ones that are out there trying to guard and stay in front – they’re fast. They’re really good at what they do. I was thrilled with how we defended the three-point line, that was a major, major focus after giving up 33 points in the last game.”
34: The Lynx have now won this many straight games when keeping their opponent below the 40 percent shooting mark from the floor.
“We talked about it before the game, put everything we have into it, by whatever means necessary, get the ‘W’ – and I’m thankful that we did that,” Reeve said. “We got some big deflections late – obviously [Sylvia Fowles] was terrific, she was the player that was consistently there for us today.”
50: Thanks to Fowles and company, Minnesota was able to out-rebound the Mystics 41-31, which helped prevent Washington from getting second chance opportunities. The Lynx have now gotten a ‘W’ in this many consecutive games when posting a double-digit rebounding edge.
“Just go to what you’re good at,” Fowles said. “Getting rebounds, getting some stops, getting some deflections, getting steals, getting in the passing lane. All the stuff that I normally go to to help me get back into my groove.”
14.3: After giving up 33 points off the deep ball in their last matchup, Minnesota did a great job adjusting in Friday night’s victory and forced Washington to shoot this percentage from beyond the 3-point arc.