Fever's Historic Comeback Falls Short in Loss to Lynx
Trailing by 22 with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, Indiana used a 29-point third period and an 11-1 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter to take a 63-61 lead. It was the largest overturned deficit in franchise regular season history.
Indiana scored 51 second-half points, tied for the second most in the WNBA this season behind the Fever's own 59 second-half points against Phoenix on June 9. The Fever outscored the Lynx by 16 after being outscored by 20 in the first half.
The Fever shot 25.7 percent (9-of-35) in the first half and 21.1 percent (4-of-19) in the second quarter. Minnesota went 17-of-34 in the opening 20 minutes and shot 46.7 percent (28-of-60) for the game.
The Fever scored 12 straight points midway through the third quarter to trim the deficit from 20 to eight. Another 11-1 spurt to open the fourth quarter gave them a 63-61 lead.
Minnesota used a 13-4 run in the first quarter to take a 23-12 lead at the end of the opening 10 minutes. The Lynx shot 52.6 percent (10-of-19) in the first quarter.
After Indiana cut Minnesota's lead to 10 at 27-17, the Lynx scored 11 of the next 13 points to push their advantage to 19. Minnesota lead by as many as 22 points early in the third quarter.
Kelsey Mitchell led the Fever with 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting. Mitchell has scored at least 13 points in nine of her last 10 games.
Erica Wheeler scored 11 of her 13 points in the third quarter. Wheeler also recorded a team-high four assists.
Indiana's 29 points in the third quarter was its highest total of the season. It was also the team's second highest-scoring quarter of the season.
Tiffany Mitchell scored the 1,000th point of her WNBA career on a fast-break layup in the first quarter. Mitchell is the 15th player in Fever history to reach the milestone.
After starting the season 2-0 at home, Indiana has lost four straight games inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Fever sit a 5-7 through their first 12 games. With their next win, they will match their total from the entire 2018 season.
Odyssey Sims paced the Lynx for a second consecutive game, finishing with a game-high 25 points while grabbing a career-high-tying seven rebounds, dishing out a team-high seven assists and swiped a career-high tying five steals. Sims finished with 20+ points in back-to-back games for the first time since May of 2016 while with Dallas. Tonight marked her 34th 20+ point performance of her career.
Sims, Damaris Dontas, Sylvia Fowles and Nahpeesa Collier accounted for 65 of the Lynx's 78 points. Sims, Dontas and Collier all contributed at least 15.
Sylvia Fowles snagged a game-high 11 rebounds tonight, marking her seventh 10+ rebound game of the season and her 10th time pacing the Lynx in rebounds this season. Fowles also had two blocks tonight, moving her career total to 588, tying Brittney Griner for third all-time on the WNBA's blocks list.
Damiris Dantas had three timely three-pointers tonight, including one with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter to give the Lynx an eight-point lead. Dantas would finish the night with 15 points on 6-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-6 from deep, five rebounds and two assists. Tonight marked her fifth double-figure scoring performance of the season.
Minnesota held the Fever to 23 first half points on the way to a 43-23 halftime lead. The 23 points allowed were the fewest by a Lynx road opponent since leading 39-21 at New York on August 27, 2013.
The Lynx held Indiana to 38.7% shooting, marking the fifth time this season Minnesota has held an opponent below 40% shooting. Since 2011, the Lynx are 110-3 when doing so.
Minnesota's 20-point halftime lead was its largest of the season. The Lynx gave up the most points in any half (51) and quarter (29) this season.
Head Coach Pokey Chatman
"We were not good enough and this league is too good, for us to play as good as we did in the second half but not the first."
"When you create a comfort level for teams early, that's when you let people get hot and punish you. Odyssey Sims [25 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists] got hot tonight and she punished us."
(Are there any positives from the second half?)
"We're capable of winning. We just have to do it for 40 minutes."
(On what coach focused on at halftime)
"She just flat out told us what we're not doing right. Get it together. Fix it. If we can just take those defensive urges we had in the second half, there is no telling what the game would have been like. Just gotta do it for 40 minutes."
(On closing out the game)
"It's tough. We're learning. I know it's easier said than done. I know it sounds cliché but if we could just piece together two halves, we'd put ourselves in better positions."
(Are there any positives from the second half?)
"Most definitely. The energy, the way we pressured the ball, the defense, you know just getting on the run, points in transition. We cut the lead down, so definitely a positive there. Of course the second half was good."
(Did the horrendous trip back from the West Coast impact the slow start?)
"It's our job. At the end of day, things happen. Stuff happens every day. We came here to play today. That's that."
Head Coach Cheryl Reeve
"We played such a good first half. But I can tell you, as I told the team, there's not many times that we have come here in my career, this is my 10th year now coming here to Indiana, there's not many endings that are unlike what we just saw. You know Indiana always has another punch. And we talked about it in that third quarter, at the timeout when they turned it up. But we just have to give them credit. They played really hard, got back in it, went up two and then obviously I feel really good about our players responding, to be on the road and getting down and still finding ways to win the game."
(On forcing turnovers)
"It's what we do as a team. You know, we're one of the better teams in that area. We really hang our hat on that, and I thought there were some key plays, things that we value in a possession. We were doing little things really well. We buckled down. Again, we gave up the lead and they didn't hang their heads and found a way to do some little things well and like you said and got some key possessions when they turned it over."
"It's always good to get a road win no matter how you get it done. This is one that we needed. We got another one coming up soon against Dallas. So we're gonna take it and learn from it and keep getting better."
(On the difference between the first and second half)
"The first half we came out with a lot of aggression. I think in the second half it kind of flip-flopped. They came with more aggression, got us a little rattled, they made their run, got back in the game. Give credit to us. We stayed in the game. We never got rattled. We showed a lot of poise. We made sure we were positive with each other and we came out with a win. This is what we've been working on for the past couple weeks, making sure we close out games. And we finally got it done. So this is definitely a good win and we're really, really happy with it."
"I thought we came out, especially in the first half, really aggressive. I think we played probably our best defense all year in that first half and then kind of had a little bit of a lull in the third quarter. They came out really strong, but that's something we've been working on. We had a couple days off this past week and we kind settled in and calmed down and really composed ourselves. And I thought O [Odyssey Sims] really got us going. She did great. I think she's a big reason why we won this game. We had so many contributions from so many people, so I thought it was a great win overall."
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Women's National Basketball Association Stories from June 25, 2019
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