The Lynx held off the Connecticut Sun for an impressive victory on Saturday afternoon, getting a win over one of the best teams in the WNBA on the road and ending a 14-game home winning streak for the Sun.
This game was in question the entire night, but the Lynx took it home thanks to a few key late-game defensive stops and clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch from Danielle Robinson. While a few botched inbounds plays in the final seconds will certainly be featured in Minnesota’s film room, the Lynx did enough to give themselves a cushion headed into the final seconds and came up when it counted.
On Saturday the Lynx turned in the type of chaos-inducing defensive performance they are hoping will become their identity as the season progresses. While many Sun players scored, as is typical for Connecticut’s deep squad, only Jasmine Thomas scored over 15 points. Critically, Sylvia Fowles almost entirely neutralized Jonquel Jones. Jones, who has been a star for the Sun so far this season, scored just five points. Additionally, the Lynx held Shekinna Striklen to only six points.
What is even more encouraging is that the Lynx tightened up when it mattered most instead of collapsing. They held the Sun to just 15 points in the third quarter and 13 in the fourth—a fantastic response from a first half where the Sun were able to run their offense despite Minnesota’s best efforts.
Minnesota also forced 17 Sun turnovers and only allowed the Sun to shoot 39.7 percent from the field. Holding their opponents under 40-percent shooting continues to be the Lynx’s ticket to greatness. They are undefeated on the season when they achieve that mark.
The Lynx got very efficient afternoons from both Sylvia Fowles and Odyssey Sims. Sims led all scorers with 21 points and did so on 62.5 percent shooting. It was a calculated, patient performance from the guard—the kind that makes you wonder why Sims doesn’t get more credit as an offensive force in this league. Sims’ passed the ball well also, finishing with eight assists.
Fowles was everything for the Lynx’s offense in the first half and while she slowed down in the second, she still finished with a very solid stat line of 18 points, 11 rebounds and two assists. She hit seven of her 11 shots. Additionally, Danielle Robinson and Napheesa Collier contributed 13 and 18 points, respectively. This is the recipe for success for the Lynx—balanced scoring supported by great defensive effort.
Lexie Brown has been fighting through a fairly well-documented slump in the last few weeks, but she was great on Saturday. She finished with eight points, hit two-of-three from range, and most importantly, played 19.5 minutes for the Lynx, including a few critical ones down the stretch.
Getting Brown’s confidence back up is key for Minnesota and Saturday’s game will do a lot in that department. It can be hard to keep shooting when your shots aren’t falling but Brown has done a good job of continuing to let them fly. On her part, Reeve has been adamant that taking the shots is more important to her than hitting them and that has helped Brown work her way through this stretch of inconsistent play.
- Stephanie Talbot was unable to replicate her performance from Tuesday, missing all five of her three-point attempts. Still, she shot them, and the threat of her making them is real so it’s good to see that her confidence to shoot is still there.
- Asia Taylor played eight minutes off the bench tonight, second only to Brown in reserve minutes. It’s remarkable how she’s been able to come in and get acclimated so quickly. While her performance wasn’t perfect, being able to come in and soak up minutes at the forward spot is valuable with Jessica Shepard and Karmia Christmas-Kelly both sidelined for the season.
The Lynx travel to Chicago to play the Sky on Wednesday.