Uncasville, Conn.— It was only three nights ago that the Minnesota Lynx barely edged the Connecticut Sun. On Friday, however, Sylvia Fowles ensured that a different Lynx team took the floor, as she scored a game-high 20 points in Minnesota’s 14-point victory over the Sun.
The game served as a nearly-perfect contrast to Tuesday’s match up in which the Lynx had 20 turnovers, while allowing Connecticut to secure 21 defensive rebounds. Friday Minnesota took control from the jump, and the Sun suffered their lowest scoring output of the season, scoring only 10 points in the first quarter and 68 for the entire contest.
Connecticut’s early shooting woes allowed the Lynx to emerge with an early seven-point advantage. But the hosts had difficulties scoring all night, and entered halftime shooting a mere 25.7 percent from the field. This allowed Minnesota to stretch their nine-point halftime lead into a 26-point one midway through the third quarter.
Fowles noted that in the days leading up to the game, the team’s focus was on ball security, while also emphasizing crashing the boards.
“You think that was easy? We knew he had a lot of things we need to improve on from the first game,” Fowles said.
“Connecticut is very scrappy, they have fast guards and they have people crash the boards from all positions. We wanted to utilize a few things, keeping our rebounding up and limiting our turnovers which I think we did well tonight after they got 31 points off of our turnover last game and that is something we need to eliminate tonight.”
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve stressed that the Sun was still able to get easy looks at the basket.
“They missed some shots. We had a greater focus on not turning the ball over, we had a lot of pick sixes at our place when they had 20 fast break points and scored 31 off of our turnovers,” Reeve said. “Our transition defense was big focal point and we did a better job tonight, but they had good shots, but didn’t make them.”
Rebekkah Brunson and Renee Montgomery each had 11 points for Minnesota, while Maya Moore grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, ensuring that an 11 percent field goal percentage would not define her night.
Sun coach Curt Miller acknowledged that his team’s effort was not the reason for Friday’s loss, citing his team’s multiple clean looks and ability to get to the basket.
“I don’t fault our effort. We tried really hard in the first quarter,” Miller said. “We got around the paint like we wanted. The game plan was to really attack them and we got around the rim. But we missed a lot of makeable shots early and so sometimes that affects you at the other end, and they counter-punched us.”
Even in the loss, Connecticut saw Lynetta Kizer match her season high with 12 points. Second-year guard Courtney Williams had nine points.
The Sun will have no time to dwell on Friday’s performance, as they face a quick turnaround, paying a visit to Allstate Arena and the Chicago Sky on Sunday. The Lynx, meanwhile, will host the Stars on Sunday.