For 37 minutes, it had been a chore.
Blows, bruises. In Sylvia Fowles’ case, plus: A dislocated finger on her left hand, put back in place during a 20-second timeout, not slowing her down one bit.
So the Lynx and New York spent much of Sunday’s game at Target Center trading figure shots and exchanging momentum.
Until: Coming out of a timeout with 2:58 to go, the Lynx grabbed the game and didn’t let go. Bridget Carleton and Kayla McBride hit three in an 8-0 run that saw the Lynx take nine and stay in control for good in an 88-78 victory in front of 3,534 licensed fans, for the first time this season , to sit close to the ground .
“That’s what most games are like,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Hang on and make sure they don’t make big runs. I just told them, ‘Hang on. We’re going to break through offensively.’
The Lynx (13-7) won for the first time in a month, coming out of the Olympic break. Still fourth in the WNBA, they are two games behind co-leaders Seattle and Las Vegas, with back-to-back games at third-place Connecticut.
This eighth straight win came in the 2:58 final.
“The conversation went: ‘Don’t let them do anything easy,'” said Fowles, who in his first game after winning his fourth Olympic gold medal had 20 points with 11 rebounds. two interceptions and a dislocated index finger. She was talking about the conversation in caucus during this late time out. “Have them use screens so we can help them. And take our own breaks. We haven’t looked back from that point.”
BOXSCORE: Lynx 88, New York 78
They do not have. In a game so close that neither team held a double-digit lead until McBride had two free throws with 16.9 seconds left, the Lynx did what good teams do – grab games when it matters. matters the most.
After that time out, Carleton took a pass from Layshia Clarendon and hit a corner three. After a failure in New York, Clarendon scored in the corridor. Moments later, after another miss, with 1:30 to go, McBride hit a 27-footer and it was 83-73.
On Sunday, in her third game of a season hampered by a knee injury, New York center Natasha Howard scored 30 points in 30:06 of playing time. But she didn’t score in the final 3:42 . Sami Whitcomb and Sabrina Ionescu combined for 26 points and 11 assists while running Liberty’s deadly pick-and-roll offense. But in the final 178 seconds, New York went 2-for-8 and were outscored 14-5.
The last box shows Fowles with another double-double. Napheesa Collier with 18 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high five blocks. McBride with 16 points and 3-of-5 shooting.
But a healthier Lynx team got key contributions elsewhere. Carleton, who played for Team Canada in Tokyo, scored five points but all five came in that 14-5 run to end the game. Center Natalie Achonwa, returning from Tokyo and recovering from a knee injury, had eight points, including six in the fourth quarter.
After New York scored 65 points in three quarters on 48 percent shooting, the Lynx held the Liberty to 13 points and 6 for 17 shooting in the fourth.
“I like being healthy,” Reeve said. “I really like him. We have to play with the line-ups, figure out the minutes. ”
Reeve said his message was to forget that 7-0 in the break and focus on what lies ahead. So, she was talking about her team’s winning streak after Sunday’s game.
“Our energy is through the roof,” Reeve said. “The practice days we had [leading up to the game] were so fun to be around. It was the first time we reached this level with the team.