Lynx Surge Past Sparks 92-84
Web Editorial Associate
In the first nail-biter of the year, the Lynx pulled out a 92-84 win at Target Center despite three Sparks players putting up 20 points or more.
For the first seven minutes, the Sparks kept it close until the Lynx took control with a 13-2 run to finish the first quarter up 30-19. But things fell apart for the Lynx in the second, with eight turnovers coming that quarter alone. The Sparks took advantage, answering back to take a 47-44 halftime lead.
Lynx guard Seimone Augustus outscored everyone in the second half, netting 14 of her 25 points during that stretch. Rebekkah Brunson finished with 17 points, and Whalen added 14 points.
The Sparks’ Candace Parker and Kristi Toliver had 23 points each and Nneka Ogwumike finished with 20 points.
Leader of the Pack: Rebekkah Brunson
Even on a great night for Parker, Brunson was a force in the paint, scoring 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds in her highest-scoring game of the season.
“They’re big. They have a lot of weapons,” Brunson said. “I feel like they’ve definitely tried to improve since last year. So we can’t feel like they’re going to give us anything; they’re going to compete and they’re going to play, and we just have to be ready.”
“Having adversity early on in the season definitely is going to help us kind of fix the problems that we have and help us grow down the stretch.”
Brunson came through with seven points in the final quarter, part of a 26-14 Lynx advantage in the fourth that put them in position for the win.
A pair of Whalen plays that came a minute apart in the fourth helped the Lynx regain their momentum and set the tone for the win.
With nine minutes left to play, Whalen made a hard drive into the lane to score on Toliver and tie the game at 70. About a minute later, Whalen slid through the Sparks defense again, driving to the baseline and kicking it out to Wiggins, who found Brunson in the lane for an and-one lay-in. This gave the Lynx a 73-72 advantage with just under eight minutes left, their first lead since the second quarter.
The Numbers Game
Although Parker scored 23 points, the Lynx held her scoreless in the crucial fourth quarter. … Augustus went 11-for-17 from the field on the night (64.7 percent). … The Lynx collected 11 steals including three each from Augustus and Monica Wright, but committed 18 turnovers.
Quote of the Night
“You’d much rather be winning the entire game and never lose the lead, but I guess what I learned about our team is that we didn’t forget what it takes to win in the fourth quarter. That was our first test of the 2012 season, and we stuck with it. I thought for our first test this year, we did an admirable job.” — Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve
The Lynx face the Seattle Storm back at Target Center on Sunday at 6 p.m., broadcast by Fox Sports North. They then hit the road to take on the Washington Mystics on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
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