Written By Mitch Hansen (ZoneCoverage.com)
The Minnesota Lynx entered Tuesday as one of the hottest teams in the WNBA, having won seven straight games while climbing the league standings.
Their opposition, the Indiana Fever, came into the day as one of the bottom teams in the WNBA, holding a record of 1-16 while sitting at the bottom of the league standings.
On Tuesday night at Target Center, however, you wouldn’t have realized the difference in the two teams, as the Fever came into Minneapolis and upset the Lynx, 71-59.
Minnesota struggled from the get-go, falling behind Indiana from the time the ball went into the air. The Fever jumped out to an early lead over the Lynx, holding a 21-19 lead after the opening quarter of play.
After falling behind in any given quarter, Minnesota normally opens the next frame with a sense of urgency and fights its way back into the game. But in the second quarter of Tuesday’s game, it was more of the same that we saw in the first quarter for the Lynx, who tallied just 13 points and continued to trail 34-32 at the break at Target Center.
Out of halftime, it was more Indiana. The Fever outscored the Lynx 15-14 in the third quarter, while holding a 22-13 advantage in the final quarter to come away with the win.
Shooting and taking care of the ball were the biggest factors for Minnesota in the uncharacteristic loss to Indiana. The Lynx finished shooting 32.8 percent from the field in the game, while adding just 16 team assists and committing 12 turnovers to the Fever’s six turnovers.
Maya Moore, who had been playing MVP-caliber basketball during Minnesota’s hot streak and was even named Western Conference Player of the Week, struggled in the game. Moore finished with just nine points on 3-of-15 shooting, recording three rebounds and two assists. Entering Tuesday, she had recorded 20 or more points in all seven games during the Lynx winning streak.
Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota’s other MVP-caliber talent in the paint, also struggled in the loss, finishing with just eight points and eight rebounds in 31-plus minutes. She shot 4-for-12 from the field, recording a plus-minus of minus-14.
The highlight for the Lynx in the game was veteran post Rebekkah Brunson, who tallied a team-high 13 points, 12 rebounds and career-high-tying six assists. Her double-double was the first of the season and the 81st of her career, tying Yolanda Griffith for sixth all-time in the WNBA.
Natalie Achonwa led the Fever to the win, finishing with a game-high 17 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in just over 25 minutes. Victoria Vivians added 13 points and was a plus-22, while newly signed Cappie Pondexter finished with 12 points off the bench.
With the loss, the Lynx fall to 10-7 on the season, dropping them to fifth place in the WNBA standings. Minnesota trails Seattle (13-5) and Phoenix (13-5) by 2.5 games for first place in the league. Indiana improves to 2-16 on the season, still sitting in last place in the WNBA.
The Lynx will have to turn around and fix things quick as they have a tough opponent coming up next, hosting the Los Angeles Sparks at 7 p.m. on Thursday back at Target Center.