For the first time this season, the Minnesota Lynx were able to defeat the Los Angeles Sparks. Minnesota used a big third quarter to eek out an 83-72 victory at the Target Center.
“I mean obviously we have some things to clean up. I think they went on their run in the third quarter and hit I think it was three threes in a row,” Parker said.
“So, I think that’s stuff that we could clean up.”
Los Angeles’ big three — Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike, and Chelsea Gray — had sensational games on Thursday. Each scored in double digits, with Parker leading the Sparks with 22 points.
Brunson Becomes WNBA Leading Rebounder
The Lynx’s Rebekkah Brunson became the all-time rebounder in WNBA history on Thursday, passing Tamika Catchings. She hauled down 12 rebounds, giving her 3,318 for her career.
“Anyone that has been around a great rebounder, you know that it is an innate ability to have this relentless pursuit to be the first one to the ball,” Lynx head coach
“Rebekkah is almost never the biggest post player on the floor, but she just plays bigger than she is, because of the drive that she has.”
Minnesota Takes Initiative Early
Despite taking the early 2-0 lead, the Sparks were not sharp on defense. They were allowing too much space for the Lynx offense, allowing Minnesota to score 17 of the next 24 points.
Brian Agler’s timeout following the slow start seemed to work for the time being. An Odyssey Sims bucket trimmed Minnesota’s lead to only four with the quarter winding down.
Alana Beard then showed why she deserves to be a WNBA All-Star. Her tenacity around the glass led to five Sparks points, after hauling down two offensive rebounds in a row.
Beard’s efforts, however, were not enough to stymy the Lynx’s offense. Minnesota was able to rattle off four points immediately after thanks to Danielle Robinson. Los Angeles managed to get as close as two points before halftime after Parker drained a three. But the Lynx went up by three when the second quarter finally did come to a close.
The third quarter was defined by Minnesota’s ability to hit three point shots when it mattered most. Minnesota sank five three pointers, shooting 71% from behind the arc in that frame. It started when Maya Moore and Tanisha Wright opened up an eight-point advantage. Then, Cecilia Zandalasini hit two more later on to extend their lead to 12 points.
By that time, the Sparks were out of options and out of gas again. They were able to stay in the game for stretches of time, but Los Angeles were never able to get close to Minnesota again.
“They hit some timely shots and shot the ball well from the three-point line,” Brian Agler said afterwards.
“I thought we had some chances, you know, we had some chances to get over the hump and just never could get over that.”
Los Angeles return to the Staples Center on Saturday, where they will square off with the Washington Mystics. This matchup is scheduled to start at 4:00 PM.