Entering Friday night, the WNBA-leading Washington Mystics came into the game with a winless record of 0-5 on the season when trailing an opponent after three quarters.
For a majority of the game and through three quarters, the Minnesota Lynx controlled the game on their home floor against the league’s top team, carrying a 62-56 lead into the final frame.
The Mystics, however, refused to fold in the final 10 minutes of Friday’s game like they have all season long.
Washington outscored Minnesota 30-17 in the fourth quarter to come from behind and take down the Lynx 86-79 at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis.
“I think our offense really stalled. I think their defense really got to us. They can score bunches in a hurry,” Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said after the game on the final quarter. “It was obviously not our best quarter, which is unfortunate, because I think we played a great game.”
With the win, the Mystics improved to 19-7 overall this season and became the first team in the WNBA to clinch a spot in the playoffs. With the loss, the Lynx dropped to 13-13 on the year to sit in the No. 7 seed in the league standings.
In the opening half of Friday night’s game, the two teams began the first portion of the game battling back and forth heading into halftime.
With Minnesota holding a 21-20 advantage in the first quarter, it went on to grab a two-point lead going into the break, up on Washington 41-39 while once again flexing its defensive capabilities through two frames.
Coming out of the break, the Lynx picked up right where they left off to start the game. Minnesota outscored Washington 21-17 in the third to snag a six-point lead going into the final quarter and looking to have a solid handle on the game in front of its home crowd.
In the fourth quarter, however, the WNBA’s top team turned on the jets and managed to secure a come-from-behind victory in a position where they have struggled in for a majority of the regular season.
Washington, which finished shooting 45.3 percent from the field in the game, was led by Ariel Atkins with 18 points, five rebounds and five steals and Emma Meesseman with 17 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
Elena Delle Donne added 14 points and eight rebounds, Aerial Powers had 14 points and three rebounds and Natasha Cloud recorded 13 points and eight assists for the Mystics.
On the other end of the floor, Sylvia Fowles led Minnesota with 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Danielle Robinson was a nice spark off the bench once again with 14 points and five assists and Damiris Dantas pitched in with 14 points and seven boards for the Lynx, which shot 45 percent as a team and went a near-perfect 20 of 21 from the free throw line.
Napheesa Collier had a big second half after struggling in the opening two quarters. She tallied 13 points — all of which came in the second half — along with nine rebounds and two assists.
“I like where we are. We didn’t win this game, but it’s not like we didn’t show up. We just didn’t win the game,” Reeve said after the game. “Now we have to go to Seattle and try and win that game. That’s what it’s about, you just have to go try and win the next one.”
The Lynx will return to the road to kick off a two-game road trip beginning with a matchup against the Seattle Storm at 6 p.m. CT on Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle. The game will be aired on WNBA League Pass and can be heard locally in Minnesota on 106.1 FM.