Lynx take Mercury with game-changing third quarter, end losing streak

After five consecutive losses, the Lynx overcame a slow start to end the losing streak in a 84-71 victory against Phoenix on Tuesday.

Minnesota overcame the bad memories of narrow, heartbreaking losses to two of the WNBA’s best teams in Seattle and Las Vegas, improving as the game went on against the Mercury.

The third quarter was when the tide officially flipped for Minnesota.

Until a Nikolina Milic 3-pointer in the third quarter, the Lynx had not had a lead in the game. The game was tied three times before that, two instances coming just minutes before Milic’s shot. From Milic’s shot forward, the Lynx didn’t look back and continue to build.

Minnesota’s more aggressive stance on both ends of the floor began earlier in the game, though, when the Lynx overcame an 11-point deficit following the first quarter for a dominant second.

Early in the second quarter, Minnesota got more aggressive on the ball. Starter Kayla McBride had two steals. The Lynx defense put more pressure on and took advantage of turnovers. The Mercury had 16 turnovers in the game. All of that effort resulted in a 25-point frame for the Lynx, narrowing the deficit to four points at halftime.

McBride led the effort in points as well. She had some dominant baskets in the paint off of promising passes from her teammates. The Lynx finished with 24 assists in the game. Another benefactor of those assists was Natalie Achonwa.

Achonwa had 10 points off the bench in the second half. Her presence was even more notable considering her lengthy absence from the court. She exited Minnesota’s second game of the season on May 8 against Washington with a right hamstring injury, Achonwa missed the next 14 games, only being activated just ahead of Minnesota’s game against Phoenix on Tuesday.

McBride and Achonwa led the way for what ended up being a balanced scoring effort for the Lynx. While it was just a duo early on, Aerial Powers, Rachel Banham and Moriah Jefferson knocked down baskets to push Minnesota into the lead. McBride finished with 18 points, five steals and 3 assists. Achonwa was perfect from the field and the free-throw line for 12 points, adding six rebounds as well. Jefferson led the way in the assist category, dishing out nine in the game, while adding 12 points.

After just two 3-point baskets in the first half, Minnesota exploded for eight more to bolster its lead in the second half. While dominating in that category, the Lynx also made a difference at the free-throw line, missing just two chances while Phoenix shot 68.2% from the line.Related Articles

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