Home » National Basketball Association (NBA) » Lynx 78, Sun 69: Lynx Soak Up the Sun

The on-court product wasn’t exactly the bastion of beauty, but the Minnesota Lynx were able to grit out another victory against the Connecticut Sun, improving their record to 3-1.

The Lynx once again fought frontcourt foul folly – Syliva Fowles (5), Napheesa Collier (4), and Damiris Dantas (3) accounted for 60% of the team’s fouls – and a sluggish first half, causing the team to trail by seven at halftime. Sun wing DeWanna Bonner carried Connecticut all night continuing her hot start to the 2020 season with a 28 point and four board performance on 5/11 shooting from three.

But, once again, rookie point guard Crystal Dangerfield stepped up in a big way to provide a calming presence on the floor and fill the void left behind after Shenise Johnson exited with a hamstring injury – no word yet on the severity – and Rachel Banham struggled with foul trouble of her own.

“It’s huge,” Dangerfield told AWAW after the game when discussing the need for the point guard to keep their composure when the pressure is on. “[Fowles] always takes me to the side and says it all starts with me. Defensively, I’m the first point of attack. Offensively, I’m bringing the ball down and getting everything set. So, I do want to take that personally, make sure our energy is good from the first tap to the last horn. The second half, we knew we were down, we knew we were going to have to come out with a great start to the third quarter and I think we did that.”

Dangerfield started slow, but her three-point shot awoke in the second half and was a catalyst for the come-from-behind victory; Dangerfield scored a career-high 17 points (3/8 from three), which helped keep the Sun within range all game. Additionally, Bridget Carleton – who had played a mere 17 minutes through the first three games – filled in admirably for the injured Johnson, scoring eight points and a team-high plus/minus of +9 in 23 minutes; newcomer Erica McCall – who joined the team on Thursday after being claimed on waivers – was also +9 and grabbed four rebounds in eight minutes.

In the end, the Sun were simply overpowered by Fowles (21 points, 13 rebounds) and Collier (17 points, nine rebounds, four assists). The Lynx outrebounded the Sun 40-27 – they’ve won the battle on the glass in all four games this season – and are now 86-5 when holding opponents to fewer than 70 points and 117-4 when holding opponents below 40% from the field since 2011.

The Lynx continued to struggle from behind the arc – they shot under 30% (4/19) for the third time in four games – as well as in the turnover department – they added another 17 Saturday afternoon. The team will have to tidy up these areas if they want to make a run for – and well into – the playoffs. However, to this point, their ability to prevent their opponents from getting second-chance opportunities as well as to get to the free-throw line and shoot a high percentage have been able to compensate for their deficiencies.

• Dantas didn’t have her strongest game of the 2020 season Saturday afternoon – five points, eight rebounds, 1/5 from three – however, head coach Cheryl Reeve has been happy with her performance to date. “She’s emerged as one of our big three,” Reeve told AWAW prior to the game. “A steady contributor, that’s something that Damiris has always done for us. And she’s doing things that we’re asking her to do, which is to be a bigger part [of the offense], scoring in a variety of ways. She’s getting her post-ups, she’s shooting the three, she’s putting the ball on the floor. So I don’t know if I could ask for anything more. She’s offensive rebounding. I probably could ask for a few more defensive rebounds and defending without fouling (grins). I think she’s been really vital to our team to this point.”

• Lynx PR relayed during the post-game press conference that Saturday night was the first time since July 15th, 2018 that Sun star Alyssa Thomas had not registered a made field goal. Connecticut’s opponent that night? The Minnesota Lynx.

The Lynx are next in action on Wednesday, August 5th against the New York Liberty (0-3). Tip is set for 6:00pm CT.