Lynx Win Fifth Straight to Secure Winning Season

(image credit: screenshot from Minnesota Lynx on YouTube)

The Minnesota Lynx picked up one of their most important wins of the 2019 WNBA regular season on Friday night in Phoenix.

The Lynx used a big third-quarter outburst to jump out in front of the Mercury to come away with an 83-69 victory on the road at Talking Stick Resort Arena late Friday.

With the win, Minnesota extended its winning streak to five games in a row, secured yet another winning season and also inched closer to clinching its seed for the start of the playoffs on Wednesday.

While winning a league-best five straight contests in the game against the Mercury, the Lynx improved their record to 18-15 on the season, which marks the ninth straight year they will finish the 34-game regular season schedule with a winning record. No other franchise in WNBA history has put together more than seven straight winning seasons (Houston, 1997-2003).

Along with that, Minnesota also inched closer to clinching its position in the postseason, now just one win away from wrapping up the No. 6 seed in the league standings, which would result in a home game at Target Center in a single-elimination playoff game against the Seattle Storm on Wednesday night in the first round.

The Lynx, who will finish out the regular season with a game against the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday in Los Angeles, will officially get the No. 6 seed with either a win or a Seattle (17-16) loss to the Dallas Wings on Sunday. Minnesota will head into the game with a one-game lead over the Storm in the standings.

In Friday night’s key victory, Minnesota fell behind early on in the first half of the contest, trailing Phoenix 22-18 after the first quarter before the Mercury took a 44-40 advantage into halftime on their home court.

Out of the break and in the third quarter, however, the Lynx completely turned the tables on the Mercury and blew the game wide open during the 10-minute span.

Minnesota’s offense went off to shoot 63.2 percent from the field in the quarter, while holding Phoenix to a 28.6 percent mark, to outscore the Mercury 29-9 and carry a 15-point lead into the fourth and final frame. That quarter marked the eighth time in team history that Minnesota has been able to outscore an opponent by 20 or more points in a quarter.

The Lynx were ultimately able to keep their foot on the gas and not let the Mercury back into the game in the fourth quarter, cruising to an important and impressive win on the road against a tough playoff-caliber team.

Minnesota was led in the game by Odyssey Sims, who went off for a nice all-around game consisting of 22 points, nine assists and five rebounds in just under 37 minutes.

Sims’ performance marked the eighth time in Lynx franchise history that a player has recorded over 20 points, five rebounds and eight assists in a single game.

Behind Sims, Damiris Dantas had a nice game with 17 points, five assists and five rebounds and Napheesa Collier finished with 14 points, three assists and three rebounds. Sylvia Fowles — who moved up to second on the WNBA’s all-time rebounding list, trailing only Rebekkah Brunson — grabbed a double-double of 11 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks and Lexie Brown highlighted the second unit with seven points off the bench for Minnesota, which shot 52.5 percent from the field along with six 3s.

While outshining the Mercury on the offensive side of the ball, the Lynx defense did a good job of shutting Phoenix down for most of the game. The Mercury finished shooting 40.3 percent from the field and committed a total of 16 turnovers in the loss.

Leading the way for Phoenix, which dropped to 15-18 on the year and will get the No. 8 seed in the postseason, was Brittney Griner with 16 points and seven rebounds. Sophie Cunningham went off for 11 points and five rebounds off the bench, Leilani Mitchell added 10 points and four assists and DeWanna Bonner tallied eight points, five rebounds and three assists for the Mercury.

Minnesota will finish out the regular season at 3 p.m. CT Sunday afternoon in a tough season finale matchup against its rival Los Angeles at Staples Center. The game will be aired on ESPN2 and can be heard locally in Minnesota on 106.1 FM.

The Lynx are one of the hottest teams in the WNBA right now, and Friday night’s win once again proved that as they look to clinch home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs on Sunday.

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(image credit: screenshot from Minnesota Lynx on YouTube)

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