Web Editorial Associate
In a battle of the top two teams in the WNBA, you expect the game to be a back-and-forth contest that comes down to the final quarter.
That’s exactly what took place between the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night.
Despite a late-game comeback by the Lynx in the fourth quarter, the Sparks held Minnesota off to come away with a 70-64 win in front of an announced crowd of 11,533 at Xcel Energy Center.
“I told our group that I looked at the upper part of the box score, which is the LA Sparks and I would have said that we won by 10,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said after the game. “We held a team to 37.5 percent (from the field) and we out-rebounded them, we had more assists, had a couple more field goals, but we didn’t win the game. Clearly our problem was our offense, the third quarter in particular.”
With the game tied 36-36 at halftime, Los Angeles came out strong in the third quarter. The Sparks outscored the Lynx 21-8 in the third and led by as much as 15 early in the fourth quarter.
But Minnesota never quit. The Lynx went on a 19-7 run late in the fourth to cut the deficit to three with under a minute to go.
Los Angeles ultimately ended up making a late jumpshot to put the game out of reach and come away with the victory.
“I think we had the collective mindset to be more aggressive,” Maya Moore said. “It was the fourth quarter, that sense of urgency rises up and for the most part, we were able to connect. It hurts when you have self-inflicting wounds. Their defense was really aggressive and we just have to put together four quarters.”
Sylvia Fowles led the way once again for Minnesota, finishing with a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds. Rebekkah Brunson had 14 points and nine rebounds, Moore had 12 points and three rebounds, Renee Montgomery had 10 points and five assists and Seimone Augustus had eight points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Los Angeles was led by Chelsea Gray with 23 points and three assists and Candace Parker with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Odyssey Sims had 14 points and five assists and Sydney Wiese added five points off the bench.
With the win, the Sparks even the regular season series between the two teams at 1-1.
“It’s just like playing any other team in the playoffs. You go out and have a good first game, the second is not so good. Everybody knows each other’s plays, so it comes down to the little things,” Fowles said. “Who’s getting the hustle plays, who’s getting the extra boards, who’s getting deflections. We definitely know each other very well.”
Minnesota falls to 21-4 on the season with the loss. Los Angeles improves to 19-7 overall with the win.
“This definitely gives you a sense of what (the playoffs) will be like. It’s always a learning factor for us,” Fowles said. “I’m upset that we didn’t win, but you have to think of the positive. We are going to see LA again back at their home and we will take something from this game and apply it to the next.”
Highlight Of The Game
With 6:51 left in the second quarter and Minnesota leading 29-25, Fowles had a huge block to help lead the Lynx defensively.
The rejection was her second of the half. She finished with three total blocks in the game.
The Numbers Game
- The Lynx outscored the Sparks 26-22 in points in the paint in the game.
- Minnesota shot 42.6 percent from the field, while Los Angeles shot 37.5 percent from the field.
- The Lynx finished shooting 72.7 percent from the free throw line. The Sparks shot 93.8 percent.
Player Of The Game
Friday night’s Lynx Player of the Game goes to Sylvia Fowles.
Along with recording her 14th double-double of the season and the 121st of her career, Fowles shot 8-of-15 from the field and went 1-for-2 from the free throw line in the game.
The Lynx hit the road to take on the Seattle Storm at 9 p.m. Wednesday at KeyArena in Seattle. The game will be aired on NBATV, WNBA League Pass at 106.1 BOB FM.