Arlington, Texas – The Minnesota Lynx put on a rebounding and assists clinic Sunday to pull away from a scrappy Dallas Wings team, 91-74, and remain unbeaten at 9-0.
Sylvia Fowles led Minnesota with a season-high 30 points on 14-of-19 shooting, while Maya Moore added 23, and Rebekkah Brunson grabbed 14 rebounds. The visitors outrebounded Dallas, 40-24, and notched 30 assists for the second straight game. Fowles has scored 20 or more points for a league-leading seven games, but she credited the team effort in the win.
“My teammates put me in the right place at the right time, just making sure I get the ball in the right place,” Fowles said.
The Wings lead by one point at the end of the first quarter, but the Lynx stormed back in the second and went into halftime 14 points ahead. The hosts rallied in the third to cut the deficit to eight, but Brunson hit a bucket to pad the margin to ten points, and Minnesota kept it at double digits for the remainder of the game.
Karima Christmas-Kelly scored 21 points for Dallas, and rookie Allisha Gray added 14.
Courtney Paris’ absence due to injury has left a big hole in the paint for the Wings. Glory Johnson, who had eight rebounds against the Lynx, said Paris being out is a big reason for the rebound differential in the game.
“At the end of the day, we used to bang together to grab the boards,” Johnson said. “That is what we want to do. We want to be physical, just like they are physical.”
Physicality has become a part of the Dallas’ identify this season, and they’ve recently added strong defense and attacking the paint to the mix. Coach Fred Williams said Minnesota did a good job of forcing his team to take outside shots, and kept them from the free throw line.
“With us being the number one team for getting to the free throw line, they kind of stepped away from us and made us pull up for jumpers,” he said.
There were times throughout the game where the Wings were able to disrupt the Lynx offense, but they were unable to close the gap. Moore said that despite the score, the game felt close the entire way.
“Both teams were competing really hard,” she said. “We were getting the offense we wanted for the most part in the first half. Had to clean up some of our help coverage just trying to keep them out of the paint.”
Christmas-Kelly, who also had three steals and one monster block on Fowles, said Dallas will have to continue to focus on defense, as they did Friday when they took down the reigning league champion Los Angeles Sparks.
“We played at a high level of intensity in the last game, and we looked a little step slower out there tonight,” she said. “With Sylvia, she is a great player, so you have to make her shots more uncomfortable while she is out there.”
The Wings hit the road to face the Sparks Tuesday, while the Lynx don’t play again until Saturday, when they host the Connecticut Sun.
Sue Favor contributed to this report.