Cheryl Reeve knew the run was coming. A talented team like the Dallas Wings always has a run in them.
So when the Lynx, leading by 10 at halftime, suddenly found themselves trailing by one point just four minutes into the third quarter, Reeve wasn’t worried the team was falling back into tendencies that caused it to lose 105-89 to the Chicago Sky on Tuesday. She expected Dallas to come out swinging. She expected her team would respond.
Before the quarter was over, the Lynx’s lead was back to five. Three minutes into the fourth quarter, the lead was 15. Minnesota would hold on to beat Dallas 85-73, securing the team’s first road win of the season and, at least for one game, put its poor performances behind.
“(It’s) good news, because I didn’t like that team on Tuesday. I don’t think it could’ve beaten anybody,” Reeve said. “…This is more the team that we want to be.”
Minnesota (5-6) outrebounded Dallas (5-7), the WNBA’s top rebounding team, 40-34, and held the Wings’ dynamic offense to just under 35 percent shooting. Kayla McBride scored 22, Napheesa Collier added 19 and Sylvia Fowles grabbed her third double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The win also marked Reeve’s 250th as the coach of the Lynx. She’s the first coach in league history to win 250 games with one franchise.
“We took quite a bit of time to bring closure to the last game and even a couple games before that,” Reeve said. “We just wanted to make sure we came down here with an understanding of what needed to happen.”
Minnesota jumped out to large leads in each of the first two quarters, each time Dallas was able to respond with a run of their own. But none looked as dangerous as the run Dallas made in the third quarter, scoring the first 11 points of the half to take a lead. Minnesota began turning the ball over, an Achilles heel for the team this season, and their shots weren’t falling. However, a McBride three-pointer gave the Lynx the lead back and the Wings were never able to grab it again. McBride’s 22 points were a season high.
“I think today was the most connected I felt with my teammates,” McBride said, admitting she felt some fatigue early in the season after playing overseas. “…Today was the best I felt so far.”
Lynx point guard Layshia Clarendon is a finalist for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award. Clarendon is the first openly transgender and nonbinary athlete to compete in the WNBA and was nominated for their advocacy and dedication to the LGBTQ+ community. Clarendon is also the vice president of the WNBA players association and a founding member of the league’s social justice council. … Crystal Dangerfield was named a finalist for an ESPYS’ award for Best Breakout Athlete.