The Minnesota Lynx continued on in their current four-game homestand during a critical time in the regular season on Sunday night at Target Center.
After opening the home stretch with a win over the Dallas Wings last Thursday, Minnesota welcomed another tough opponent into Minneapolis with the Las Vegas Aces coming to town.
The Lynx, however, were certainly up for the challenge as they rolled to their second straight victory at home following a 98-77 win at Target Center. Minnesota’s 98 points were the most its scored in a regular-season game this summer.
“There were just so many positive things that stood out. It was a team effort,” Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said after the game. “Just across the board. … I thought it was one of our better games of the season.”
With the win, the Lynx improved to 15-15 overall this season as they look to continue to make a jump in the league standings. Minnesota could have clinched a playoff berth on Sunday if the Indiana Fever beat the Seattle Storm, but the Fever came away with a 63-54 win over over the Storm in Seattle.
To start off the game, the Lynx continued a trend they started last Thursday in jumping out to a large lead early. Minnesota jumped out on a 12-2 run to open the contest and held a 19-8 advantage in the first five minutes to eventually outscore Las Vegas 29-18 in the frame. The 29 points was the most recorded in a quarter for the Lynx this season.
Minnesota was led in the quarter by Sylvia Fowles, who seemed to do it all on both the offensive and defensive ends in the opening 10 minutes. She tallied 10 of her total 14 points in the quarter to boost the Lynx to the early advantage.
“It was very important for me to come out and play the way that I played tonight. Making sure I set the tone and making sure my teammates follow,” Fowles said post-game. “Not trying to do so much talking, but just going out there and being out about. That’s something I tried to set tonight.”
To finish out the first half, Las Vegas turned the tables on Minnesota in the second quarter to grab its first lead of the game thanks to a large run in the middle of the frame.
The Aces, who at one point went on a 13-0 run to take the lead in the game with just under five minutes to play before halftime, went on to outscore the Lynx 25-16 in the second quarter to even things back up. Minnesota ended the frame on a high note to retake the lead and carry a 45-43 advantage into the break.
Out of halftime, the Lynx mirrored what they did in the first quarter by getting out to a large lead to kick off the final two quarters. Minnesota outscored Las Vegas 28-15 in the frame to lead by as many as 19 points and take a 73-58 lead into the fourth quarter.
In the final 10 minutes, the Lynx ran away with the game, outscoring the Aces 25-19 to finish off the game and come away with their second straight win at home.
All five starters finished in double-figures to lead the way in the game for Minnesota. In her second game back in the starting lineup for the Lynx, Danielle Robinson did it all with a nice all-around performance of 23 points (a season-high), eight assists and three rebounds.
“She was just so good. Her passes in transition, she was just highly confident and affected the game at both ends,” Reeve said of Robinson. “It was probably her best game as a Lynx.”
Behind Robinson, Napheesa Collier tallied 23 points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocks, Fowles added 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks, Damiris Dantas had 11 points and four assists, Odyssey Sims had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists and Lexie Brown contributed eight points off the bench for the Lynx, who shot 58.8 percent from the field.
“I told (Sylvia Fowles) when she comes out and plays like that, we are going to be hard to beat. I thought she set the tone for us,” Reeve said. “I thought Danielle Robinson was phenomenal both defensively and offensively. Napheesa Collier was really good and I thought Dantas had her moments. … I also thought the bench was really solid.”
Minnesota looked strong defensively in the game once again, forcing, Las Vegas into 16 turnovers in the contest while scoring a total of 30 points off of those turnovers. On the other end of the floor, the Lynx assisted on 20 of their total 29 baskets in the victory.
“Tonight was probably one of the best (games) we’ve played all season,” Fowles said. “Just all-around, from everybody.”
Leading the way for Las Vegas in the game was Jackie Young with a team-best 14 points and five assists. Liz Cambage added 12 points and five rebounds, Sugar Rodgers and A’ja Wilson each had 11 points and Dearica Hamby finished with 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Aces, who finished shooting 42 percent as a team.
“We have another game on Tuesday, so we can’t dwell on it. We will celebrate this win tonight, but we have a big one coming up,” Robinson said. “We just have to make sure we do the same thing that we’ve done the last few games we carry into Tuesday night.”
The Lynx will remain at home during their current four-game homestand when they return to Target Center to host the Chicago Sky at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. The game will be aired on ESPN3, Fox Sports Go and can be heard locally in Minnesota on 106.1 FM.