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Lynx go toe-to-toe with the Aces before falling 93-87

But Minnesota just wasn’t clean enough to pull off the road upset against one of the league’s elite. The Lynx committed 12 turnovers — which led to 22 points for Las Vegas — and made a few too many costly plays.

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LAS VEGAS -- The task facing the Minnesota Lynx heading into the week was daunting. Minnesota was 0-4 and facing a pair of West coast road games against a playoff contender in the Los Angeles Sparks and a title favorite in the Las Vegas Aces.

Minnesota entered the pair of games staring at a potential 0-6 start to the season. It exits with the look of a team that will be just fine moving forward.

With Kayla McBride back in the lineup, Minnesota toppled the Sparks on Tuesday, and went toe to toe with the Aces on Thursday before falling 93-87 in Las Vegas.

After falling behind 11-2 early, the Lynx were in the fight against Las Vegas for much of the evening, pulling to within one point early in the final frame on a triple from Moriah Jefferson.

But Minnesota just wasn’t clean enough to pull off the road upset against one of the league’s elite. The Lynx committed 12 turnovers — which led to 22 points for Las Vegas — and made a few too many costly plays.

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Most evident among those came in the fourth quarter, when rookie wing Evina Westbrook committed a flagrant-one foul by encroaching on Jackie Young’s landing space on a 3-point attempt. Young buried all three free throws, Las Vegas (5-1) kept the ball due to the flagrant ruling and Chelsea Gray scored at the rim on the ensuing Aces’ possession.

Just like that, Las Vegas’ lead ballooned from four points to nine with 6 minutes, 16 seconds to play. That swing proved too much for Minnesota to overcome.

“We have to control things like that when we’re that close,” Sylvia Fowles said.

Young finished with 25 points, leading five Aces who scored in double figures. Still, much of that damage was done in the first half. The Lynx defended much better over the final 20 minutes to give themselves a chance, as Fowles said communication and movement was better on that end of the floor.

Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve noted you need breaks to go your way on the road, and it didn’t happen for Minnesota. That extends to officiating. Las Vegas shot 20 free-throws in the second half to Minnesota’s six.

Kayla McBride struggled in her second game since returning from Turkey, going just 0 for 4 from the field in 21 minutes as she battled foul trouble. Reeve noted the guard’s former team seems to key in on her.

Still, the positives for Minnesota were glaring. The Lynx (1-5) looked lost through the first three games of the season, but have found their way over their three most recent contests.

“I feel very good,” Fowles said. “Of course our record doesn’t reflect it, but we’re doing some really good things, and we’ve just got to make sure we stick together and have each other’s backs and play as a team, and I think we’ll do great things this season.”

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Aerial Powers emerged Thursday after a rough start to the shooting guard’s season. She finished with 25 points, six rebounds and six assists in Las Vegas, looking like the star scorer Minnesota desperately needs her to be. Jessica Shepard continued her impressive start to the campaign, tallying 14 points and 14 rebounds. Fowles was again her dominant self, recording 20 points and 11 rebounds for another double-double.

MORE MINNESOTA LYNX COVERAGE:
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The Lynx (7-15) shot 50 percent from the field and tied a season high with a dozen 3-pointers.
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The key for any player, Brunson always says, is to find what it’s going to take to be successful, carve out your niche and stick to it. The 6-foot-1 forward exemplified that during her 15-year career
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To their credit, the Lynx (6-15), who were coming off a 92-64 win over Dallas, made a game of it, but the Aces (15-5) had an answer for every push the Lynx could come up with
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Moriah Jefferson's triple-double leads Minnesota with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists
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Kayla McBride and Jessica Shepard each scored 15 points for Minnesota, which also got 12 from Sylvia Fowles, 11 from Moriah Jefferson and 10 points from Natalie Achonwa.
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Minnesota center Sylvia Fowles -- recently named a starter and a co-captain for the upcoming WNBA All-Star Game -- played for the first time since June 7
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Minnesota's 32-16 advantage in points off the bench proved key in countering Skylar Diggins-Smith's game-high 25 points
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Leading 93-91 with 16 seconds to play, forward Dearica Hamby knocked down a corner 3-pointer for the Aces (13-2) to stave off a pesky effort from Minnesota (3-13)
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Minnesota (3-12) gave itself a chance to snap its three-game losing skid with stifling defense down the stretch, holding Seattle to just five points for the final 5:07 of action
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Washington also held the Lynx (3-10) to just 32.8 percent shooting, including 6-of-21 from beyond the arc.

No, Minnesota wasn’t good enough to win Thursday, but more efforts just like that will lead to a number of victories in the near future.

“I feel like we can start to lock in on some of the details. I feel like we’ve gotten some of the consistency now, things are settling in,” Reeve said. “No question, the start to the season in terms of the schedule, even if you had a settled-in team, was going to be tough. But where we are and where we’ve gotten to, personnel wise, and looking at how we’ve played the last three games, I’m going to take the positive side of things in terms of how I think we’re improving, and that’s the thing we’re trying to get done.

“It’s not a sprint, as they say. We’ve got a lot of games ahead of us, and just keep improving in the areas that we feel strongly about, make sure that that’s what we’re locked in on and see if we can win the next game”

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA LYNX
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