Arlington, TX -- In a last-chance game for payback, the Dallas Wings, and the Minnesota Lynx needed all the teamwork they could afford. A total of 11 players were in double figures between both teams, with the Minnesota Lynx stretching it out in the final minutes of overtime to capture the win, 98-97.
The last meeting between the two powerhouses did not go as the Wings had planned, with the Lynx keeping the Wings off the scoreboard winning 93-56. In fact, the Lynx have dominated each of their meetings with the Wings, winning by an average of 27 points.
In the first quarter, the Wings proved that payback was their priority in their last scheduled game against the Lynx. The Wings shot out of the gate on the boards and finished the first 10 minutes with a two-point lead, 29-27. All five Wings starters contributed to the lead, shooting 60 percent from the field as a team.
"I think both teams had a lot of grit, lot of hustle. I didn't think it was a case of one team wanting it more than the other; it wasn't about that. I think both teams wanted it equally, and both teams left it all out there," Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said.
Dallas Wings' Karima Christmas, scored the first bucket of the matchup, a three-pointer with perfect ball movement from Skylar Diggins and Plenette Pierson. Christmas used that initial momentum to spark her killer first half performance, finishing the first 20 minutes leading the team in scoring with 12 points. She continued to be huge on the floor, sinking seven of 12 shots and finishing with 20.
The Lynx came back and showed grit in the second quarter, keying in on finishing big plays and quick transition efforts. The Lynx led 55-50 heading into the second half, with the Wings staying within striking distance.
Pierson woke the crowd up starting the second half with a big three-pointer. She continued her second half dazzling performance, as she added key points in the fourth quarter, while sinking five of eight three-pointers. Pierson ended the game with a game-high 21 points, going 50 percent from the field and grabbing 11 boards for a sweet double-double.
Even with the stellar performances from Christmas and Pierson, the Lynx had enough steam throughout the game to keep fighting for the win. The Lynx are coming off of three straight wins, winning in New York against the Liberty in their last game, 88-70.
With all five starters for the Lynx adding in double figure performances, there was not just one standout player in this matchup. Maya Moore ended with 20 points, with Rebekkah Brunson and Sylvia Fowles adding double-double numbers with 16 and 10 and 14 and 19, respectively.
A huge play with less than four minutes in the game brought the College Park Center to its feet and gave the Wings their big chance for an overtime thriller. Christmas challenged the Lynx with a momentous block, which lead to a transition layup by Odyssey Sims. Energetic plays like these kept the Wings within striking distance.
With 7.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Wings were down 89-86 when Sims got fouled at the three-point line. Sinking all three shots from the charity stripe, Sims forced the Wings Lynx matchup into a hail-mary overtime.
In overtime, the veteran experience in Moore and Brunson's hustle on the glass, combined with the Lynx's defensive attack that forced turnovers, gave the Lynx just the right amount of opportunities to extend their lead to one-point when the clock ran out.
"We had loose balls that came up towards the end. It's just about buckling down towards the end and getting those few stops when you need them," Dallas Wings' Christmas said.
In overtime, the Lynx continued their tenacious defense and hustle on the offensive glass. The Lynx finished with 51 rebounds over the Wings' 34, with 17 of those 51 coming from the offensive glass. The Lynx were able to capture several second-chance opportunities in the overtime battle, proving that relentless hustle and maximized teamwork were the keys to success in this matchup.
"Those five rebounds in that overtime helped Minnesota. When you get Rebekkah Brunson and Sylvia Fowles in there, they are going to get some boards for you," Dallas Wings head coach Fred Williams said.
Both the Lynx's and the Wings' next matchups are on July 20th, with the Wings hosting the Connecticut Sun and the Lynx hosting the Atlanta Dream.