Minnesota rolls past Connecticut 76-65; Lynx winning streak at seven, Sun drop third in a row
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The streaking Minnesota Lynx won their seventh game in a row, sending the Connecticut Sun to their third consecutive defeat, 76-65, in a game of teams with playoff hopes heading in opposite directions.
“It is our second game having the full team back together,” said Lynx coach Cheryl postgame. “It has been nice having the depth and a strong core of players to carry us.”
Those core players, center Janel McCarville, forwards Maya Moore and Rebekkah Brunson, and guards Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen played efficiently and confidently, scoring 61 of the team’s 76 points, while adding 30 rebounds, and 14 assists. Moore lead the team with 17 points, Brunson had ten rebounds, and Whalen shot a perfect five-for-five from the floor.
Back in May, the Sun took the Lynx to overtime in Minnesota, before falling 90-87. This one was less theatrical than that Connecticut missed their first six shots, while Minnesota hit their first three, jumping out to a 6-0 lead. The Sun kept the score close at times, even taking the lead, but the game was never out of Minnesota’s control.
“It feels great to be back; we started the season with nine players, and it has been kind of an up and down season for us, and it just feels great to have everyone back,” said Augustus.
Brunson, in only her third game of the season, came up with several big rebounds on both ends and two put backs in the fourth quarter, when the Sun tried to make a late run.
“Those two tip-ins, she got an o-board, those are the plays that make a difference,” said Whalen of the returning power forward. “Those are the plays that make the difference at the end, that break their back, so it was really good for us.”
With seven wins in a row and a playoff spot, the Lynx seem to be on a collision course with the Phoenix Mercury, winners of 15 straight games Phoenix holds a two-game lead in the Western conference at this time, as they battle for home court advantage in the Finals.
Connecticut, on the other hand, has dropped three in a row. The franchise is at the bottom of the Eastern conference, facing the next three games on the road, where it is 3-10 on the season. They are, however, only one game out of fourth place, and three out of second place.
Kelsey Bone led the Sun with 15 points and nine rebounds, while Chiney Ogwumike had eleven points and Katie Douglas ten. Renee Montgomery played a season high 27 minutes, scoring eight points and dishing seven assists off the bench. Her back-to-back threes at the start of the fourth quarter ignited a Sun comeback that fell short.
Whether it was a Moore drive to the hoop, Augustus elbow jumper, Brunson put back, or even a McCarville banked-in three-pointer, the Lynx had an answer for each Sun challenge.
“Give Minnesota a ton of credit,” said Sun coach Anne Donovan. “It’s tough for us, in this game, to be as defensive help minded as we want to be and not be worried about who we are giving it up to. They have strong weapons.”
And now all of them are back, healthy, and having a lot of fun winning.