Minneapolis, MN -- Since last year's WNBA Finals, the Minnesota Lynx, and the Indiana Fever have been heading in opposite directions. The Lynx entered its game against the Fever at the Target Center needing a win, to set the WNBA record for the most consecutive victories. Indiana was merely looking to improve.
The result was decisive. The Lynx crushed the Fever 87-63, becoming the first WNBA team to start a season 11-0.
From the opening tip, Minnesota appeared to be the better team. With strong shooting from both the inside and outside, the Lynx took early control of the game, jumping out to a 25-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Indiana started the second quarter more confidently, as they found their rhythm, played more aggressively and improved their passing. The Fever's improved play helped cut into the lead, but its momentum was short lived. As if someone flipped a switch, Minnesota regained control, creating a carbon copy of the first quarter. At halftime, the Lynx led 49-31.
The lone, shining performance for Indiana was Erlana Larkins, who was far and away the most aggressive Fever player on the floor.
If Indiana thought about staging a comeback, the play early on in the second half certainly squashed those thoughts. Minnesota could seemingly do no wrong, with everyone on the team chipping in with pinpoint shooting.
Perhaps the last play of the third quarter was the most symbolic, as Natasha Howard grabbed a rebound and made a buzzer-beating layup off of a badly missed shot.
The fourth quarter was filled with back-and-forth play, as Minnesota took out its starters with five minutes left in the game.
As the Lynx celebrated their record-setting victory, the idea of a repeat title certainly seems more likely. As for the Fever, improvement will have to wait.
Before the game, both teams observed a moment of silence in memory of the Orlando shooting victims.