As they entered an important four-game homestand at the end of August that would end up rounding out their 17-game regular season home schedule, the Minnesota Lynx knew they had some work to do ahead of the WNBA Playoffs quickly approaching.
As they looked ahead to the upcoming stretch back home at Target Center just a few weeks ago, the Lynx carried a record of 13-15 overall, had lost three games in a row and dropped to as low as the No. 8 seed in the postseason picture.
On Sunday night in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota wrapped up that important four-game homestand in a big way while completing its final regular season home game of the 2019 season.
Playing in front of their home crowd for the last time of the regular season this summer, the Lynx hosted the Indiana Fever at Target Center, defeating the Fever 81-73.
And with the win, Minnesota has appeared to have corrected its struggles and have gotten hot at the best possible time of the year.
After beating the Fever, the Lynx improved their record to 17-15 overall with two regular season games remaining. They have also now won a league-best four straight games, finish the year with an 11-6 home record and now hold a half-game lead over the Seattle Storm for the No. 6 seed in the playoffs.
To open up the game on Sunday, Indiana got off to a hot start on the road as it tried to take Minnesota out of the game early on. The Fever shot 62.5 percent from the field in the opening frame to carry a 23-20 lead into the second quarter.
The Lynx continued their struggles shooting the ball in the first half by shooting 38.9 percent in the second quarter, but managed to keep the game close going into halftime. With both teams scoring 18 points apiece in the second, Indiana’s lead stood at just three, 41-38, at the break.
Out of halftime, Minnesota was able to get back on track on its home court. After grabbing a 23-18 advantage in the third quarter, the Lynx were able to take their first lead of the game and not look back from that point on.
Going into the fourth and final quarter with a two-point lead, Minnesota ended up shooting 42.9 percent and held Indiana to shooting 35.3 percent to outscore the Fever 20-14 in the last 10 minutes, pacing the way for an eight-point win at home.
Leading the way for the Lynx was the duo of Odyssey Sims and Napheesa Collier, who combined to record 32 points (11-of-26 shooting), 15 rebounds, seven assists and four steals in the win.
Sims, who recorded nine points in the opening two quarters, tallied a team-high 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals to finish with her 25th outing of the year with at least 10 points recorded in her first season in Minnesota.
Collier finished right behind Sims with yet another double-double performance of 15 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.
The rookie continued her outstanding season, becoming the second rookie in WNBA history to record at least 400 points, 200 rebounds and 60 steals, joining Tamika Catchings (2002) as the only players to accomplish the feat. Collier is the third Lynx player to grab 200 or more rebounds in a season and is the fifth Lynx rookie to score 400 or more points in a year.
Behind Sims and Collier, Sylvia Fowles grabbed 10 points, five rebounds and four assists, Lexie Brown had 10 points and Temi Fagbenle had nine points off the bench, Seimone Augustus had eight points and four assists and both Danielle Robinson and Damiris Dantas pitched in with six points for Minnesota, which shot 44.3 percent from the field as a team.
For Indiana, which sho 50.8 percent from the field but committed a total of 19 turnovers in the loss, were led by Candice Dupree with 18 points and four rebounds. Tiffany Mitchell added 14 points and six assists, Teaira McCowan had 12 points an 11 rebounds and Betnijah Laney had 11 points off the bench.
The Lynx will hit the road for two tough road games to finish out the regular season schedule and try and hold onto the No. 6 spot in the league standings. Minnesota will face the Phoenix Mercury at 9 p.m. CT on Friday, before taking on the Los Angeles Sparks at 3 p.m. CT on Sunday.