Web Editorial Associate
The Minnesota Lynx returned home Friday night to begin a two-game homestand to close out the regular season.
And they kicked off that homestand with possibly one of their most impressive team performances of the season thus far.
Minnesota breezed past the Chicago Sky 110-97 on Friday night at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The Lynx had one of their most complete team wins of the season, recording 35 assists on 45 baskets while shooting 67.2 percent from the field. Those 35 team assists set a new franchise record for assists in a game.
“We felt it, but we didn’t know we were setting a record. That’s just an indication of I think really our defense. When we are that active, we can get out and run because a lot of those were in transition,” Maya Moore said after the game. “Being aggressive to the paint, just the commitment to being disruptive on defense and sharing the ball on offense. That’s encouraging when we see the results of that. It was just a really fun night when everyone is involved like that.”
Sylvia Fowles had 27 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high-tying five assists and Moore had a near triple-double of 20 points, nine assists and seven to lead the way for the Lynx in the game. Renee Montgomery had a season-high 21 points and five assists, Seimone Augustus had 11 points and five assists, Rebekkah Brunson had eight points and five rebounds, Plenette Pierson had eight points, Alexis Jones had five points and five assists and Cecilia Zandalasini had two points, her first two points of her WNBA career.
“Overall, our offense was pretty darn good. When you can establish Syl on the inside like that, it creates a lot of openings,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said after the game. “Franchise record 35 assists and it was all spread around. I thought Maya and Syl together were really, really good tonight.”
Kahleah Cooper had 21 points and Stefanie Dolson had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Sky. Courtney Vandersloot had 14 points and nine assists and Allie Quigley added 11 points and three assists.
“On our minds was the last time we played Chicago and we gave up 54 points in the paint. Maybe more importantly knowing that both teams were different back then. This team is really hard to guard,” Reeve said. “We know that, if they run their offense, they will make a lot of shots. They are fourth in the league in effective field goal percentage. It’s one of those things where you watch film and say we have our hands full.”
With the win, Minnesota improves to a WNBA-leading 26-7 overall this season with one game remaining on Sunday. With a win on Sunday, the Lynx would officially clinch the best record in the league and the No. 1 seed in the WNBA Playoffs.
“Our goal was to be in the top two, and we clinched that a couple of games ago. There is something about this team that just wants more and they want to be first,” Reeve said. “Who knows if it has a bearing on anything, obviously it didn’t last year. We had homecourt and we didn’t win the championship. This team is a competitive group and they want to be first.”
With the loss, Chicago drops to 12-21 on the season and is officially eliminated from the WNBA Playoffs.
“I think it’s all in our hands. I’d hate to not give another team credit, but it’s not like I’m trying to sugarcoat anything, but I just think our team is that good and we predict our own future,” Fowles said. “Hopefully we come out and we jump on Washington like we did on Chicago tonight.”
Highlight Of The Game
With 16.9 seconds left in the second quarter, Brunson concluded the first half with a big block on Chicago’s Dolson.
That block helped the Lynx carry a 60-44 lead into halftime.
The Numbers Game
- With her 4th three-pointer in the third quarter, Moore became the franchise leader in three-pointers (461), passing Katie Smith.
- The Lynx held a 52-30 advantage in points in the paint in the game.
- Minnesota’s biggest lead in the game was 22. Chicago’s largest lead was one.
Player Of The Game
Friday night’s Lynx Player of the Game goes to Sylvia Fowles.
Along with her team-high 27 points in the game, Fowles shot 12-of-13 from the field and recorded five assists, which ties a career high.
Fowles also tallied her 20th double-double of the season and league-leading 12th 20-point, 10-rebound game of the year.
Minnesota will wrap up the 2017 regular season against the Washington Mystics at 3 p.m. Sunday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The game will be aired on Fox Sports North Plus, 106.1 BOB FM and TuneIn Radio.