The last time the Minnesota Lynx and the Indiana Fever faced off — on July 3 at Target Center — the Fever handed the defending champion Lynx easily their worst loss of the 2018 season.
Indiana, at the time, entered that game with one win on the season – a WNBA-worst 1-16 – and beat Minnesota 71-59 at Target Center, snapping its seven-game winning streak.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Lynx weren’t going to let that happen again in round two with the Fever.
Minnesota bounced back and blew out Indiana 87-65 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana.
The Lynx jumped out to an early lead in the game and really never looked back. In the opening quarter, Minnesota outscored Indiana 23-12 while shooting the lights out from the field. The Lynx finished the first frame at 55 percent shooting from the field while holding the Fever to just a 31.2 percent mark.
Minnesota didn’t let the lead up for the rest of half, holding a 43-32 advantage heading into halftime. Coming out of the break, it was the Sylvia Fowles show in the third quarter. Fowles scored seven of her team-high 20 points in the third, helping the Lynx outscore the Fever 17-15 in the quarter.
In in the fourth quarter, Minnesota improved in an area where its struggled in all season, not letting up on the gas while closing out the game with a 26-17 edge in the final quarter, ultimately coming away with the blowout victory.
The two players who have been the Lynx focal point all season, Fowles and Maya Moore, played big roles in the win.
Fowles recorded a near triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. It’s her third career game with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, the last such game occurring on Sept. 1, 2017. Moore contributed 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Minnesota had a strong outing from its bench in the game, totaling 30 bench points. Danielle Robinson led all second unit players with 15 points and five assists. Temi Fagbenle filled in nicely alongside Endy Miyem to replace the injured Rebekkah Brunson, as Fagbenle tallied 10 points and four rebounds. Tanisha Wright got nearly 20 minutes of playing time in the game, finishing with five points and two assists.
The Lynx, which led by as much as 22 points, shot 51.6 percent from the field – holding the Fever to just 40.9 percent – while finishing with a 36-24 advantage in points in the paint and 38-26 in rebounds.
Indiana’s 65 points are the fewest allowed by Minnesota during the 2018 season, and it is the second time it has held an opponent under 70 points. The Lynx built a 22-point lead in the game, which is the 116th time they’ve done so in franchise history, improving to 116-0 overall in such games.
With the win, Minnesota improved to 12-8 overall on the year, tied with the Washington Mystics for the fourth spot in the WNBA standings. The Lynx, who trail the first-place Seattle Storm (15-6) by 2.5 games, are 8-2 in the last 10 games.
The Lynx return to action at 7 p.m. July 13 at Target Center, taking on the Las Vegas Aces.