The main question heading into Wednesday night’s game at Target Center between the Minnesota Lynx and the Dallas Wings was how the Lynx would bounce back after their last-second loss to the Los Angeles Sparks in the season opener.
Other than getting into the win column, getting reigning MVP Sylvia Fowles going early was a must.
Fowles, a 6-foot-6 center, had another tough and unique challenge awaiting her on Wednesday, facing off against Wings newcomer Liz Cambage, a 6-foot-8 center.
Fowles dominated that performance, leading the Lynx to a 76-68 win at Target Center and reminding us all why she is the WNBA’s reigning MVP.
“She did exactly what we’ve been asking her to do, but she looked a little more like Syl from last season,” Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said. “Those two (Fowles and Cambage) wore each other out. That was hard work, what they were doing. They are each a handful for each other and they were drained.”
In Minnesota’s first win of the season, Fowles finished with 23 points and hauled in 20 rebounds, which is the first regular season 20-20 game in Lynx history and the 18th in WNBA history. Fowles finished just shy of her career-high of 22 rebounds, which she recorded on May 31, 2013 against Connecticut.
More importantly for the Lynx, Fowles also out-performed Dallas’ Cambage, who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
“Goodness gracious that was hard, but it felt good,” Fowles said. “I felt good, I felt like my teammates got me the ball a lot and they put me in good spots to finish. From there I went.
“(Cambage) brings it out in you. She’s a big body and she is aggressive. … I like it when I have challenges like that.”
Fowles’ performance wasn’t the only dominance displayed in the win.
The Lynx, who never trailed in the game and led by as much as 27 points, owned the paint altogether by holding a 44-30 advantage in points inside. They also out-rebounded the Wings 50-33 in the contest.
“We love to play off of our defense, whether that is getting into passing lanes or securing a tough rebound and going and playing. That was key,” Maya Moore said. “I think we all feel that when we are doing that and we are connected and playing to our identity.”
Minnesota got back to looking like itself against Dallas at Target Center. Fowles’ dominant – and historic – performance was a big reason why.
“It was good to bounce back and to get our first home win. Our home games are awfully important to us,” Reeve said. “Overall, defensively, that’s why we won this game and I appreciate our commitment to the gameplan.”
The Lynx will hit the road to take on the New York Liberty at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Westchester County Center in New York. That game will kick off a stretch of six road games in the next seven contests for Minnesota.