Arlington, TX -- Dallas’ youth and inexperience led to its 91-74 demise Sunday when the Wings faced Minnesota, arguably one of the most experienced WNBA teams.
And their best player, Maya Moore, celebrated her 28th birthday today.
Thank u everyone for the sweet Birthday wishes! Grateful for another year and W with my Lynx fam today!! ❤— Maya Moore (@MooreMaya) June 11, 2017
As the saying goes, “the older you are, the wiser.” And that’s applicable to the WNBA.
Lynx veteran center Sylvia Fowles, who is second in the league averaging 21.9 points per game, had herself a shooting day. Fowles got into a rhythm in the paint quickly and ended up scoring a season-high 30 points.
“She was an inside presence that we couldn’t really stop. We tried a couple of different things,” Glory Johnson stated on Fowles being a force to be reckoned with.
“We tried different people, switching up, and trapping a little bit,” Johnson said. “She came to play today. She is a powerful player and that is what she does. She gets her own rebounds and she puts it back.”
Another veteran, forward Maya Moore, who has been in the league since 2011, has only gotten better in time. As a three-time WNBA champion and league MVP, Moore added 23 points to the board for Minnesota and drained five three-point buckets.
At one point, the Wings had four rookies on the court against the Lynx’ stacked lineup.
It can always be challenging for a rookie player to transition to the WNBA from college basketball. Players need to adjust to the more aggressive playing style and faster tempo.
The Wings took a big ding by not having the luxury of playing forward Kayla Thornton. After suffering a laceration on her eye early in the game, Thornton played a little more than 7 minutes in Sunday’s game. That’s less than half of her typical playing minutes.
Forward Karima Christmas-Kelly, who led the Wings with 21 points, also had an injury scare. In the last second of the first half, Christmas-Kelly threw up a half-court lob and was fouled by Moore.
She was examined by Dallas’ trainer after she was holding her right arm. Christmas-Kelly went on to make all three of her free throws and chipped down the Lynx’ lead to single digits heading into the locker room.
But despite slimming down on the Lynx deficit at the end of the second quarter, the Wings began to lose steam in the last 20 minutes of action.
“I think in the second half, the third quarter, we responded much better with helping each other and trying not to foul as much,” stated Moore. “The fourth was just a matter of hustling, fighting, competing for each ball so we could get our lead extended, and not allowing them to make one last big push.”
In the end, the Lynx out-rebounded the Wings 40-24. In part, that had to do with the absence of center Courtney Paris, who is out after suffering a knee injury late May.
Dallas head coach Fred Williams called Paris a “masterpiece” rebounder and said the team is still working on making adjustments to fill her role on the court.
“We are always counting on [Courtney Paris] getting 10 or 11 rebounds from her,” Williams said. “So we just have to have other people step up and pick up the pieces.”
Courtney Paris is still out with a knee injury.
Dallas lacked consistency in its shooting and only shot 38.5 percent, compared to Minnesota, who shot 52.8 percent from the field.
Dallas who is 4-6 on the season, will look to shake off this loss when they travel to Los Angeles to face the Sparks Tuesday, June 13 at 9 p.m. CT.
The unbeaten Lynx will look to continue their nine-game win streak when they host the Connecticut Sun Saturday, June 17 at 7 p.m. CT.