The only number that mattered to the defending champion Minnesota Lynx was the number zero.
Why zero? Because zero is the number of losses Minnesota has suffered this season. After starting the game in dominating fashion, they kept it that way, beating the Dallas Wings (3-4) Saturday, at the Target Center in Minneapolis to go 7-0 on the season.
The beginning of the game was all Minnesota, going on a quick 8-0 run to start. Dallas, looking to push above .500, eventually caught on, with forward Karima Christmas scoring eight points on 4-of-6 shooting in the quarter to keep the Wings in fighting distance. At the end of the first, Minnesota led 18-12.
Things in the second quarter got somewhat sloppy for both teams, with each committing early turnovers. However, Dallas kept in the game, with rookie guard Aerial Powers and veteran Plenette Pierson, getting the majority of the offense in the quarter for the Wings.
Leading scorer Odyssey Sims, was a non-factor for most of the first half, only scoring two points. Going into halftime, Minnesota struggled, barely outscoring Dallas in the second quarter (18-17) to take a 36-29 lead.
The first half was sluggish for both teams, as Dallas and Minnesota combined to go 2-for-20 from three-point range. Powers, who went 3-of-9 from long distance in the game, wasn't shy about how the Lynx' defense made things tougher for Dallas.
"They play a zone-like defense and they are very long almost at every spot," Powers said. "So, their height and length alone makes their defense a little tougher than most."
The game started to pick up the pace in the third with each team going on hot streaks. Minnesota went first, starting the half with a 6-0 run before the trio of Pierson, Powers and Sims combined to go on a 17-6 run to bring Dallas within two (48-46) with 1:28 left. For the Wings, this was the closest they would get.
Minnesota started to get into a rhythm in the fourth quarter, showing the Wings why they are the defending champions. Seimone Augustus started off an 8-2 run early in the quarter, putting Minnesota up 61-51 with 7:05 left.
"We just executed down the stretch," Augustus said. "I don't know who delivered the pass but I've just got to, at that point, lock in and knock down the shot - especially in a close situation. We're just trying to steal the league and get a little breathing room."
Aerial Powers scored a three-pointer with 6:37 left to bring Dallas within seven, but by then, Minnesota had already begun to break the game open. Minnesota outscored Dallas 19-9 the remainder of the way to give the Wings their third straight loss.
Powers scored 20 points off the bench to lead the visiting Wings. Christmas and Pierson added 15 and 11 each, while Sims was held to a season-low, seven points. The Lynx had five players in double figures, led by Sylvia Fowles' 16 points.
Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve, while excited about the win, still found a rough spot that she knew the team could improve on.
"We're trying to close the gap on points off turnovers on both sides, so this is another game that we've been kind of chipped away at," Reeve said. "We're forcing turnovers and getting points, but then our number was a little high for us, we only had 13 turnovers and gave up 10 points."
With the win, the Lynx improved to 7-0, keeping on pace with the Los Angeles Sparks as the only undefeated teams in the league. Minnesota plays their next game on Tuesday, as they face the Phoenix Mercury at home, while Dallas has the next three days to regroup before they face the Washington Mystics on Wednesday.
The good news for Dallas: they get back forward Glory Johnson, who missed all of last season after giving birth to twins and served a seven-game suspension to start 2016.