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Recaps: Free throw-less Lynx continue rise

The Minnesota Lynx looked good against the Las Vegas Aces once again. Plus, the Commissioner’s Cup championship game is set to take place between the Seattle Storm and Connecticut Sun.

Minnesota Lynx v Las Vegas Aces
Layshia Clarendon (with ball)
Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

The Minnesota Lynx defeated the Las Vegas Aces 77-67 on Friday night at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas for their sixth win in a row and improved to 2-0 against the preseason favorite and second-place Aces.

Minnesota did not attempt a single free throw while Vegas went 16-of-19 from the line.

With the win, the fourth-place Lynx are now 11-7 while the Aces drop to 14-6. Minnesota started 0-3 and until recently was securely stuck in a second tier below the first-place Seattle Storm, Las Vegas and the third-place Connecticut Sun. Now they are just 1.5 games behind the Sun and three games behind the Storm, who, like the Aces, lost on Friday night.

Layshia Clarendon continued her incredible storyline as a player who was nearly out of the league before the Lynx showed faith in her with 18 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Damiris Dantas and Sylvia Fowles both had 14 points and nine rebounds with Dantas adding four steals. Kayla McBride was good for 10 points while Napheesa Collier was held to seven.

Minnesota jumped out to a 33-18 lead after one and led by double digits the rest of the way, an impressive way to beat the Aces, who scored 23.5 less points than their league-leading 90.5 per game.

The Lynx won the field goal percentage battle 45.3 to 35.8 and were 9-of-22 from distance compared to Vegas’ 3-of-15 effort.

Kelsey Plum led Vegas with 18 points in defeat. The Aces were without All-Star center Liz Cambage due to her Australian national team commitments.

Other action

Phoenix Mercury (9-9) over Seattle Storm (15-5), 85-77

Phoenix led by just three with 29 seconds left, but the Storm were held scoreless the rest of the way and the Mercury went 5-of-6 from the charity stripe to close out the game.

Phoenix center Brittney Griner followed up her 33-point, 10-rebound performance on Wednesday with 29 and 15 while point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith (three steals) followed up her 27-point, eight-assist performance with 26 and six.

Breanna Stewart had 15 points and 13 boards in defeat.

The Mercury outscored the Storm 50-34 in the paint and won the field goal percentage battle 47.1 to 38.2.

Connecticut Sun (13-6) over Atlanta Dream (6-12), 84-72

Elizabeth Williams made a nice move to finish a contested layup in transition that cut Atlanta’s deficit to four with 4:13 remaining. That was the tail end of a 13-2 Dream run. However, Connecticut responded with a 10-2 run that featured four points from Briann January (11 points) to close the game.

The Sun’s three All-Stars, Jonquel Jones, DeWanna Bonner and Brionna Jones, scored 24, 22 and 16 points, respectively. J. Jones, who leads the league with 10.6 rebounds per game, added 16 boards while B. Jones had nine. Both Bonner and B. Jones dished out four assists.

Cheyenne Parker notched 15 points and six rebounds in defeat.

Connecticut won the points in the paint battle 46-26, shot over 50 percent from the field and outrebounded the Dream by 10.

Indiana Fever (3-16) over New York Liberty (10-10), 82-69

Kelsey Mitchell scored 20 points and dished out five assists to give the Fever their first winning streak of the season. All of Indiana’s key players who participated came to play with Teaira McCowan adding 15 points, nine rebounds and four blocks and Danielle Robinson notching 18 points and five helpers. Jantel Lavender (six boards) and Tiffany Mitchell each had 10 points.

Betnijah Laney had 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists in defeat.

Indiana (13-of-13 from the free throw line) won the points in the paint battle 46-30 and forced 20 Liberty turnovers.