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Minnesota’s defensive ‘disruption’ halts pesky Indiana

A defensive mindset is how Sylvia Fowles led the Lynx to an 80-69 victory over the Fever. Fowles recorded her fourth straight double-double and 19th of the season.

Candice Dupree, Indiana Fever, Minnesota Lynx Ron Hoskins/Getty

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- When you think about the Minnesota Lynx, what comes to mind, rather who comes to mind? Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles both come to mind with their ability to take over a game offensively. Moore and Fowles’ play continues to bring confidence to their teammates and Wednesday evening it wasn’t about their offensive mentality, however, their defensive focus.

This mindset developed into a reality on the hardwood tonight for the Lynx against the Indiana Fever, delivering a well-fought, 80-69 win.

Recording the victory, Minnesota now has a WNBA best record this season with their 25th win and pushed ahead of Los Angeles by a full game for the first place seed.

“We had to really start the fourth quarter and really commit to our defense,” explained Minnesota Head Coach Cheryl Reeve. “I thought it gave us the separation. So winning the game. We’re happy to get win number 25.”

The league’s second best rebounder, Fowles, said the Lynx had shifted their focus back on defense and made a commitment to head into playoffs with that strategy. A once high-powered, dynamic offense didn’t ease up on the Fever — they just revealed another secret weapon on hand.

“We just wanted to try and make it tough tonight but also put pressure on them on the defensive end,” said Seimone Augustus. “As far as being aggressive, trying to get the ball inside and playing off of defensive turnovers.”

Sure, Moore and Fowles led in points as always with 18 and 12, respectfully, but there was no outrageous need to keep raking in individual buckets. They worked off of those nine turnovers advantageously, so they can practice defending their top two seed for the playoffs.

Fowles did her part with scoring, however, her defense stood out more with 11 defensive boards (13 total). She racked up her fourth straight double-double and 19th of the year.

“Just collectively sticking to the game plan defensively, playing team defense,” explained Moore. “Our activity was great and I think it caused a lot of disruption, especially in the second half and fourth quarter for us. We were able to pull ahead with putting together consecutive stops going into the fourth.”

Even though Minnesota ended the contest with the victory, the game was not always in its control as Indiana concluded the opening stanza with a 27-26 lead. Once the second frame began, it seemed as if the Lynx’s sole priority shifted to the defensive side of the ball — especially Fowles who caused problems in the paint.

Yes, the key for Minnesota’s win was contributed by its defense, yet the victory could not have been sealed without scoring the ball. The team distribution was so harmonic, shining on Alexis Jones and Jia Perkins with their four rebounds each while both scoring in the double digits.

“Our bench was great, picking it up, sharing the ball, being aggressive in transition,” said Moore. “So just proud of everyone. It was a good team win,” she concluded.

Minnesota heads home to host Chicago Sept. 1 at 8 pm EST and Indiana welcomes San Antonio on Sept. 2 at 7 pm EST.