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Lynx show little in home opener loss to shorthanded Washington

Minnesota scored just four – yes, four – second quarter points en route to a 78-66 loss to the shorthanded Washington Mystics in their home opener at Target Center.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- With new players and new roles, taking time to jell was to be expected from the Minnesota Lynx.

After Sunday’s performance, it’s best that they do so quickly, or it could be a long summer in a condensed season.

Minnesota scored just four – yes, four – second quarter points en route to a 78-66 loss to the shorthanded Washington Mystics in their home opener at Target Center.

The Mystics dressed only eight players.

Jessica Shepard led the Lynx with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Sylvia Fowles struggled early yet finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.

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Fowles became the 13th player in league history to surpass 6,000 points, and her three offensive rebounds pushed her past Taj McWilliams-Franklin for second-most in league history at 1,063. Lynx assistant coach Rebekkah Brunson had 1,166.

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Minnesota has won five of seven and, in addition to beating the Sky, the Lynx crushed Las Vegas 102-71 on Sunday. Each foe had the WNBA’s best record entering the game.
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The Lynx (7-15) shot 50 percent from the field and tied a season high with a dozen 3-pointers.
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The key for any player, Brunson always says, is to find what it’s going to take to be successful, carve out your niche and stick to it. The 6-foot-1 forward exemplified that during her 15-year career
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To their credit, the Lynx (6-15), who were coming off a 92-64 win over Dallas, made a game of it, but the Aces (15-5) had an answer for every push the Lynx could come up with
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Moriah Jefferson's triple-double leads Minnesota with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists
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Kayla McBride and Jessica Shepard each scored 15 points for Minnesota, which also got 12 from Sylvia Fowles, 11 from Moriah Jefferson and 10 points from Natalie Achonwa.
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Minnesota center Sylvia Fowles -- recently named a starter and a co-captain for the upcoming WNBA All-Star Game -- played for the first time since June 7
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Minnesota's 32-16 advantage in points off the bench proved key in countering Skylar Diggins-Smith's game-high 25 points
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Leading 93-91 with 16 seconds to play, forward Dearica Hamby knocked down a corner 3-pointer for the Aces (13-2) to stave off a pesky effort from Minnesota (3-13)
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Minnesota (3-12) gave itself a chance to snap its three-game losing skid with stifling defense down the stretch, holding Seattle to just five points for the final 5:07 of action

Outscored by 23 points in the second half of Friday’s season-opening loss in Seattle, lethargic might be too kind of a description for Sunday’s second quarter in which the Lynx made 1 of 14 shots, continued to give up too easy offensive rebounds, and trailed by 24 at intermission.

Minnesota (0-2) was 7 for 31 (22.6 percent) from the field in the opening 24 minutes while committing 10 of its 17 turnovers. And it was outrebounded 25-15.

The Lynx finished shooting 34.8 percent from the field (23-66), including 5 of 15 from outside the arc.

In the midst of playing three games in five days, Washington (2-0) rested Elena Delle Donne for load management purposes. Because of back issues, the two two-time league Most Valuable Player has played only three games over the past two seasons. She wasn’t needed.

With the Lynx soft on defense, Natasha Cloud scored 13 straight rarely contested points in an 20-4 run spanning the first two quarters for a 38-21 Washington lead four minutes into the second.

Nikolina Milic, who signed with the Lynx on Friday, scored on a jumper with 5:01 left before halftime.

The next Lynx points came 1:17 into the third quarter.

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Down by 23 to start the fourth quarter, Minnesota whittled the Washington lead to 74-66 with 1:46 left, but got no closer.

Angel McCoughtry scored six points in just under 13 minutes. The five-time all-star missed last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and sat out the final exhibition contest and

Friday’s season opener.

With the point guard spot far from settled, Rachel Banham got the starting nod as the Lynx look for court continuity. Coach Cheryl Reeve believes the former University of Minnesota guard has the skill set to effectively play with McCoughtry and Aerial Powers.

However, Banham had a rough night, missing all three shots she took, including a 3-point attempt, in just over 12 minutes. She had one assist.

Odyssey Sims, brought back last week, had 10 points off the bench in 26 minutes. Yvonne Turner finished with 11 points. Both had three assists and three rebounds.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA LYNXBASKETBALL
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