Web Editorial Associate
Through three quarters of Thursday night’s game, the Minnesota Lynx trailed by six, looking for a spark to get back into the game.
Well, you could say they did just that in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota outscored the Atlanta Dream 23-2 in the final quarter to come back and win 69-54 at Xcel Energy Center in front of an announced crowd of 9,622.
“Just our movement. Throughout the first three quarters we were very stagnant,” Sylvia Fowles said after the game. “Before I could even get it out of my mouth and voice it to the coach, she was already knew what was going on and she pretty much gave us a green light. She said just go out there and play freely and I think when we play like that, we are at our best.”
The Lynx opened the quarter on a 14-0 run, holding the Dream scoreless until Atlanta’s Brittney Sykes made two free throws with 3:38 left in the game. Those were the only two points the Dream would end up scoring the rest of the game.
Minnesota, who entered the final quarter down by six, went on to win the game by 15.
“I thought we were playing a team for the second time that we just know each other so well and we understood what they were trying to get. And we were just trying to win the game,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “To win the game, you’re going to win the game with your defense. We created a situation on offense to get some flow to what we were doing, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Fowles led the way for the Lynx with 25 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Maya Moore had 15 points, five rebounds and five steals, Lindsay Whalen – who left the game in the third quarter with a left hand injury – finished with eight points, four rebounds and three assists and Rebekkah Brunson had eight points and six rebounds.
Renee Montgomery, who stepped in for the injured Whalen and played most of the fourth quarter, finished with five points, seven assists and three steals in the game.
“I just knew it was next person up. Whatever we have to do to win, that was my mentality,” Montgomery said. “Like coach says, we have the mentality that we can fight through adversity, so that’s kind of how we took it. We are going to keep on working through whatever comes our way.”
Layshia Clarendon had 18 points and five assists and Sykes had 12 points and three assists to lead the Dream. Tiffany Hayes had 10 points and seven rebounds and Elizabeth Williams tallied four points and four rebounds.
“I thought Atlanta did a good job in being physical and taking us out of some stuff. They had us doing more thinking rather than just playing,” Reevei said. “We said at halftime that, if the power goes out, you need a generator. If our offense isn’t what we want it to be, then your defense has to generate some stuff for you. That’s exactly what happened for us. They scored just two points in the fourth quarter on what I call a take foul, where Syl just stopped the play by taking a foul. I thought our defense was outstanding.”
With the win, Minnesota improves to a franchise-best 20-2 overall and has won seven straight games. Atlanta falls to 10-14 on the season with the loss.
Highlight Of The Game
Clearly, the highlight of the game is the start of the fourth quarter for the Lynx.
Minnesota started the quarter on a 12-0 run, playing well offensively. The Lynx also turned a things up a notch on defense, holding the Dream scoreless for the first half of the final quarter.
The Numbers Game
- Minnesota held a 42-22 advantage over Atlanta in points in the paint.
- The Lynx shot 41 percent from the field, while the Dream finished shooting 31.5 percent from the field.
- There were nine lead changes and the game was tied a total of seven times.
Player Of The Game
Thursday night’s Lynx Player of the Game goes to Sylvia Fowles.
In Minnesota’s fourth-quarter run, Fowles finished with 15 points and three rebounds to lead the way.
“I’m best when I’m moving. My guards do a great job in getting in transition and they make sure they throw the ball where I can only get it,” Fowles said. “I think when we play free like that, all kind of good things happen for us.”
The Lynx are back in action on Sunday when they travel to take on the Indiana Fever at 5 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The game will be aired on Fox Sports North Plus, NBATV and 106.1 BOB FM.