Dallas – Strong play by Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus propelled the Minnesota Lynx past the Dallas Wings Saturday, 89-87.
Augustus scored a tie-breaking basket with 4.3 seconds remaining to give the visitors the momentum to close out the back-and-forth match up, as Allisha Gray’s three-point attempt at the buzzer fell short for Dallas.
Fowles posted 27 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota, while Maya Moore added 21 and Augustus had 18. Rebekkah Brunson’s 11 rebounds put her over the 3,000 career mark – only the fifth WNBA player to achieve that mark.
The Lynx went up by as many as 15 points in the first half, but the Wings made a run to close the gap. The turning point was the third quarter when Dallas stepped up defensively and only allowed three Lynx field goals. Whenever the hosts were down they attacked the paint in order to get to the line instead of settling for outside shots. There were 47 fouls called in this game, and 15 lead changes.
Moore called it “a game of runs,” and said the Lynx had to step up.
“We just stayed with it,” she said. “They made some runs and….our offense wasn’t exactly what we wanted it to be, or as consistent as we wanted it to be. Our post players were huge for us.”
Dallas couldn’t stop Fowles and Brunson on the boards, as they allowed 17 offensive rebounds and 25 second-chance points. Wings coach Fred Williams appreciated his team’s efforts.
“Like I told the team, we just have to play through when the teams have a lead on us, and I felt like we fought through that and made some big plays and almost came up with a victory,” Williams said. “We came up a little short tonight.”
Skylar Diggins-Smith lead Dallas with 22 points eight assists and five rebounds. She missed the first of two free throws that could have tied the game with two seconds left. She said her teammates have her back and it’s just about them all getting better as a team.
“We are saying it’s a process so we are just going to keep grinding, it’s our second game together,” Diggins-Smith said. “We have a lot of potential and I think we made some noise tonight.”
Rookie Gray had a season-high 15 points, and the team saw some good minutes from rookies Kayla Thornton and Kaela Davis, as well, who had nine and seven points respectively.
Williams the play of his rookies has been sensational.
“They are just a month away from collegiate play, and I think they defended well but they made some mistakes,” Williams said. “Now they know what it is like to go against Moore and Augustus.”
The Wings are now 1-1 and will face a San Antonio Stars team on the road Thursday that is looking to get their first win of the season.
Sue Favor contributed to this report